Creating sponge cities with nature-based solutions: learning from Wuhan, CN

Wednesday, 30 June 2021 - 10:00 to 11:00 (Europe/Brussels)

A GrowGreen event 

Investment in nature-base solutions is considered an opportunity for countries, cities, business and society, as it can contribute to economic recovery after the global pandemic, but also reduce emissions and strengthen climate change resilience, biodiversity, health and wellbeing.

The Chinese Sponge Cities programme embeds nature-based solutions in the urban planning system of cities as part of efforts to manage flooding and waterlogging. Many European cities are interested in a similar process of benefitting from nature to reduce such risks and have taken different approaches to establish them in urban planning.

As one of the programme’s pilot cities, the city of Wuhan, a partner in GrowGreen, has considerable experience in integrating sponge city projects into municipal master planning, with systematic and holistic implementation across different municipal departments. Cities in Europe are innovating as well with nature-based solutions in urban planning to tackle flooding while maximizing social benefits.

The sponge city concept refers to a type of urban management that allows cities to resolve urban waterlogging, improve water storage and discharge capacity, enhance water quality, and alleviate heat island effects through a mix of nature-based solutions and grey solutions. Sponge cities also prioritise the protection and restoration of original ecosystems in the urban area, such as rivers, lakes and wetlands, and emphasise natural forces by applying the concept’s six technical measures – “infiltration, retention, storage, purification, utilization and discharge”.

This webinar organized by IUCN in cooperation with the World Resources Institute, provides an opportunity for exchange of knowledge, experiences and ideas between European and Chinese cities, learning from the experiences in Wuhan and Manchester, drawing on the strengths of the various approaches to enhance the benefits of nature-based solutions for managing floods and other societal challenges.

During this webinar, we will learn about the:

• Sponge city programme plan & design in Wuhan – introduction to how Sponge Cities is embedded in the planning system and financing can be mobilised

• Green infrastructure strategy in Manchester and West Gorton Sponge Park – introduction to designing NbS strategies with citizens and for social benefits

• Social benefits of Chinese Sponge Cities and European cities that implement NbS strategies

• Barriers and opportunities for embedding the Sponge Cities approach in European urban planning systems

• How the Sponge Cities approach can be incorporated into your urban planning system?

• How to mobilise investment in nature-based solutions as part of Sponge Cities initiatives and the role of public-private partnerships

• The impact of context of cities and which aspects of Sponge Cities approaches can be applied universally

Find out more and register