Nature-based solutions and sponge city for urban water management

Lei Li, Faith Chan, Ali Cheshmehzangi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingBook Chapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Urban water management is one of the main concerns in the world from rapid urbanization and climate change, which drives the development of the latest sustainable urban water management concepts during the last decade. Nature-based solution (NBS) is a novel and popular concept that mimics the processes of natural ecosystems mainly in the European Union since 2015. It plays an important role in managing water-related issues. Similar, within the umbrella concept of NBS, Sponge City Program (SCP) in China was initiated in 2013 by combining blue-green-gray infrastructure to tackle urban water problems. With a large quantity of literature amassed since these terms’ inception, there is a demand to conduct a systematic review aiming to identify principal gaps and research trends in terms of specific water themes, geographic scope and scales, and study methods to guide future research directions. This chapter consists of the bibliometric analysis and thematic analysis of NBS and SCP studies within urban water management. Furthermore, 11 stakeholders who were once involved in SCP projects were interviewed to reveal the relations and differences between the concept of SCP and NBS and to explore the feasibility and transferability of those new solutions in different regions. Based on the assessment of extant NBS and SCP literature and interviews, several recommendations for future research and practice were offered.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdapting the Built Environment for Climate Change
Subtitle of host publicationDesign Principles for Climate Emergencies
Number of pages32
ISBN (Electronic)9780323953368
ISBN (Print)9780323953375
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • green infrastructure
  • Nature-based solutions
  • NBS
  • sponge city
  • urban flooding
  • urban water management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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