Current urban design and flood management practices that rely on ageing grey infrastructure are proving inadequate against the rising threats posed by rainfall-related risks. Inspired by ancient Chinese farming techniques, the concept of sponge cities advocates for harmonious water resource management through innovative measures such as 'daylighting' streams, reducing impervious surfaces, enhancing green spaces, and implementing green infrastructure. By creating space for water, these approaches complement conventional engineering solutions.
The report emphasises crucial actions, such as excluding vulnerable flood-prone areas from development and incorporating mātauraunga Māori knowledge to achieve comprehensive flood management solutions that enhance biodiversity and promote human well-being.
Proposing multiple strategies for adopting a nature-based flood management model, the report advocates for coordinated planning at national and local levels. It also recommends initiating small-scale incremental adoption of green infrastructure as a pragmatic starting point for all towns.
Read the report to find out how Sponge Cities offer a promising pathway to build resilient, sustainable, and biodiverse cities for future generations.