The Lingang District in Shanghai, China has recently taken a major step in its efforts to prevent flooding. It has, quite literally, gone green. Residents and visitors will now see numerous green spaces dotting the district. This not only adds some color, but it also improves the city’s drainage.
China’s rapid urbanization has led to constructions that have severely blocked the natural water flow, making cities throughout the country extremely susceptible to floods. The new green spaces in Lingang will utilize rooftop gardens and wetlands to manage rainfall. But Lingang’s effort do not stop with gardens and plants. The streets have also been paved with a permeable material so that rain can be absorbed by the soil below the roads.
The green efforts Lingang is making to prevent flooding could inspire similar efforts in other cities. China has no shortage of areas with heavy rainfall and rapid development. Chinese water management officials believe that only 20-30 percent of the rainwater in major cities is making it into the ground or areas of surface water. Hard pavement and concrete structures are preventing the rest of the water from draining. This results in urban areas becoming waterlogged and polluted.
Lingang is lucky because it’s one of the few urban areas that still has open land and surface waters where the green spaces can be created. Some of the older regions of Shanghai simply do not have that kind of available space. In these more developed areas, green rooftop solutions seem to be the best option for reclaiming rainwater.
China’s central government doesn’t seem to have the funds to implement a full-scale initiative like the precedent set by Lingang, but at least it is a good first step in creating healthier, greener urban environments. Taking steps to promote more sustainable development will reduce pollution and create a healthier way of life for those who live in the city limits.
You can bet that if an urban development leader like China can successfully implement green efforts like those found in Lingang, other major cities around the world will likely follow suit. That’s a substantial win for the environment.