Authors: Qiaowei Yang
Abstract:The construction of the “Sponge City” is becoming a new planning policy as well as a hot social topic in China since its official proposition by the central government in 2014. The so called “sponge city” is a city which exhibits some of the properties of a sponge, in other words, the city has “flexibility” in resisting flooding through absorbing, retaining and utilizing storm water. In short, the aim of the “Sponge City” is to rely on the natural ecosystem to address the issues of urban flooding, at the same time, to reserve rainfall to meet needs in drought season by applying a series of techniques such as green roofs, permeable pavements, swales, bio-retention systems, to name but a few. However, there is no or little research that provides insight into how the general public view these developments. This study attempts to address this gap through a small project in which interviews were undertaken with 30 participants spread across cities chosen from all five tiers. The findings show that their comments, while often negative, provide valuable insights into the concerns of ordinary citizens. Therefore, the author argues that urban citizens’ opinions could serve as important reference for technical manuals and policy guides in controlling urban flooding and delivering the “Sponge City” in China.
Keywords: Sponge City, China, public perception, planning