Architects are turning cities into giant sponges, so the ground can absorb rainwater and stop floods bringing cities to their knees. 250 cities across China are transforming into sponge cities, as well as more in America, Russia and Indonesia.
Professor Kongjian Yu says,
“We think we can use dykes to protect the city from being flooded and we drain away all the water. We have to understand that these grey infrastructures are actually killers of the natural system.”
As well as restoring wetlands, and riverbanks, sponge cities include permeable pavements, green wall and green buildings. Global floods and extreme rainfall events have quadrupled since 1980. Currently only 20% to 30% of rainfall infiltrates the ground in urban areas. It doesn’t have to be this way.
“Floods are not enemies. We can make friends with floods.