Sustainable urban water management strategies in Chinese cities – the Sponge City Program (SCP): opportunities for Blue-Green Infrastructure (BGI) development among Chinese cities

Wednesday 15th December 2021 (09:00-10:00)
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With Faith Chan, University of Nottingham, China Campus.

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Part of the Geosciences Seminar Series.


‘Sponge City’ is the term used to describe the Chinese government’s approach to urban surface water management. The concept was conceived in 2014 in response to an increasing incidence of urban surface flooding in many Chinese cities. While ambitious and far-reaching in its aim (of reducing national flood risk, increasing water supply and improving water quality), the initiative must be implemented by individual sub-provincial or municipal-level government entities. Thus, while the concept is similar to Blue-Green Cities (BGCs); sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) in the UK (or low-impact development (LID) in the USA), it is developing with different regional characteristics, and during continuing rapid urbanization. Indeed, the increasing use of national rather than international examples of best practice reflects a growing body of knowledge that has evolved since the start of the Sponge City initiative.

In this seminar, interpretation and development of the latest SCP guidelines will be presented that using the case of Ningbo and other Chinese Sponge Cities, and illustrate the rapid urbanisation and reflected from the affluent and rapidly expanding city on this case. While climate, environmental and socio-economic factors can all be seen to influence the way that the National guidelines are implemented (governance), project financing, integration and assessment are found to be increasing future influence.

Dr Faith, Ka Shun Chan specialises in sustainable flood risk management, climate adaptations and urban resilience on Asian coastal megacities. He is currently funded by the Chinese National Research Council, (NSFC) as principal investigator on the microplastics and its impacts on urban rivers. He is also involved in two international research projects as a researcher in the Blue-Green Cities Consortium, (funded by ESPRC and British Academy from the UK research council) and co-investigating in the flood risk and commercial properties (funded by RICS) project. He is also a principal investigator on three municipal-funded projects to investigate the surface water quality, typhoon-enhanced flood risk, and the development of a “Sponge City” pilot study in Ningbo.

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