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The importance of sponge landscapes in urban areas

Urban areas are facing increasing challenges in connection with climate change, such as flooding, heat waves and water shortages. An innovative solution to tackle these problems is to create swamplands that can help absorb rainwater, reduce heat and promote local biodiversity. In this short article, we will examine the importance of swamplands in urban areas and provide examples of their implementation.

What are sponge landscapes?

Sponge landscapes are natural or artificially created habitats that serve to absorb, store and purify rainwater. They can include various elements such as green roofs, rainwater collection systems, urban parks with natural floodplains, permeable surface coverings and renaturation of riverbanks.

Advantages of sponge landscapes in urban areas

1. flood protection: Sponge landscapes can help to reduce the risk of flooding in urban areas by absorbing rainwater and allowing it to seep slowly into the ground instead of draining and channeling it away.

2. heat regulation: Through the evaporation of water and the shade of vegetation, spongy landscapes can help to lower temperatures in urban areas and improve the urban microclimate.

3. water supply: Spongy landscapes contribute to securing the water supply by storing rainwater and promoting groundwater recharge.

4. biodiversity: The creation of swamplands provides a habitat for a variety of plant and animal species, which contributes to the promotion of urban biodiversity.

Examples of sponge landscapes in urban areas

1. High Line Park, New York City, USA: The High Line is a former elevated railroad line that has been converted into a linear park. By planting a variety of native plant species and creating permeable surfaces, the park contributes to rainwater absorption and promotes biodiversity.

2. Naturbad Weiherhof, Freiburg, Germany: The Naturbad Weiherhof is a swimming pool that does not use chemical cleaning agents and instead relies on natural water purification using swimming ponds and plants. The bath not only functions as a leisure facility, but also as a swimming pool that cleans and stores rainwater.

3rd Cheonggyecheon, Seoul, South Korea: The Cheonggyecheon is a renaturalized river that flows through the city centre of Seoul. By restoring the river and creating green spaces along its banks, the city has created an important wetland that prevents flooding and improves the urban climate.

Sponge landscapes play an important role in adapting urban areas to climate change and in promoting sustainability and quality of life. By creating habitats that absorb rainwater, reduce heat and promote biodiversity, swamplands can help make urban areas more resilient and livable.

Read also: Low groundwater and flooding: How do they go together?

– “Sponge Cities: An Answer to Urban Flooding?” – The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/mar/20/sponge-cities-solution-flooding-climate-change
– “How ‘sponge cities’ can absorb water to combat flooding” – BBC Future: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20170707-how-sponge-cities-are-absorbing-water
– “How Cities Can Use Green Infrastructure to Beat the Heat” – NRDC: https://www.nrdc.org/stories/how-cities-can-use-green-infrastructure-beat-heat

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