Sponge cities are sopping up climate change

Concrete cities are installing infrastructure to soak up excess water.

When it rains, it pours. And climate change means it’s been raining more than ever.

Global cities, built in dryer times, aren’t prepared to handle the flooding caused by increased rainfall. Where there was once grass and soil to soak up water, there’s now impenetrable cement. (Something about paving paradise to put up a parking lot.)

To prepare for soggier days ahead…

… urban planners around the world are transforming concrete jungles into “sponge cities,” per Wired. Sponge cities are structured to soak up water rather than repel it, using tools like:

  • Permeable surfaces, such as concrete bricks separated by crushed stone
  • Rain gardens, which can divert and collect excess rainwater
  • Vegetated swales, AKA plant-filled ditches that soak up runoff water

But water isn’t always bad

As storms become more frequent and severe, so will droughts — so the ability to collect groundwater for drinking, cooking, and cleaning will be invaluable.

In case Mother Earth didn’t have enough problems, sea levels are rising, making spongy infrastructure even more important for coastal cities.

And you might absorb some of the cost: Cities such as Pittsburgh and Los Angeles are already taxing residents for their property’s impermeable surfaces.

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