Sponge City: Wuhan, China

Multi-functional solutions to enhance urban resiliency

Our client’s challenge

Living at the interaction of the Yangtze and Han rivers, 11 million citizens in Wuhan, the most populous city in Central China, faced a significant risk of climate-related flooding. This risk has also been increased by the city’s rapid development, which has reduced water retention capacity, as well as surface water and green spaces. So, our client, the city of Wuhan, needed innovative solutions to make this massive city significantly more resilient to water-related disasters.

The solution

Our experts worked with several partners on the development of the Sponge City Strategy for Wuhan, to address the challenges of flooding, drought and pollution. The plan envisions the creation of integrated systems of comprehensive management structures, green infrastructure, an upgraded urban drainage system, water storage and purification facilities throughout the city. Many of these solutions are small-scale but replicated across the city to create a much larger cumulative effect.

The impact

Permeable pavements and small water storage facilities will enable water re-use. And new public green spaces will absorb storm water, increasing the city’s resilience to climate change and contributing to a more attractive and livable city. Once fully implemented the redesign of Wuhan will allow the city to manage 60% of the rainwater that falls there.

Improving quality of life

The Sponge City program will reduce economic and environmental damage caused by flooding and increase safety for citizens in Wuhan. The project will also serve as an example for other Chinese cities, so that these innovative, resiliency-enhancing techniques can be replicated across the country.

Contact us


Niels van Geenhuizen

Global Sustainable Solutions Leader +31 (0)6 2706 1819 Ask me a question