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Preface to ”Sponge Cities: Emerging Approaches,
Challenges and Opportunities”
Primarily as a response to increasing flood impacts, the Chinese Central Government called for widespread uptake of the Sponge Cities Approach across China in 2013 and provided financial support to foster the implementation of this approach in a selection of pilot cities. At present, the Sponge Cities Approach is gaining ground and becoming more and more accepted by city governments. The best practices of Chinese cities are being shared, and international exchange activities between research institutions and cities are providing guidance to the design and implementation of new concepts and technologies. However, there are still many challenges ahead that hamper uptake by the selected pilot cities and up-scaling to the remainder of the 600-plus cities in China. City governments at all institutional levels in China have to support the implementation of the Sponge Cities Approach in new built-up areas of city districts, industrial parks, and development zones. Moreover, in existing urban areas, retrofitting of neighborhoods, refurbishment of existing buildings and infrastructure, and other rebuild activities of old city areas should comply with the Sponge Cities Approach.
A Sponge City is a city that has the capacity to mainstream urban water management into urban planning policies and designs. It should have the appropriate planning and legal frameworks and tools in place to implement, maintain, and adapt the infrastructure systems to collect, store, and treat (excess) rainwater. In addition, a Sponge City will not only be able to deal with “too much water” but will also be able to reuse rain water to help to mitigate the impacts of “too little” and “too dirty” water. This books consists of 27 chapters bringing together emerging approaches, challenges, and opportunities related to Sponge Cities, with the ultimate aim to foster up scaling and widespread uptake. While the Sponge Cities Concept is new, the approaches and technologies involved in it have been tried out in many different parts of the globe under the guise of terminologies like Water Sensitive Cities, Sustainable Drainage Systems, Low-Impact Development, ABC waters, etc. This book aims to draw on both Chinese and worldwide experiences. Therefore, the emphasis of this book is on Chinese cities, but case studies from Singapore, India, UK, USA, Vietnam, Uruguay, Norway, and The Netherlands are also presented.
Chris Zevenbergen, Dafang Fu, Assela Pathirana
Special Issue Editors