29 June 2020

ThinkChina Analysis: Climate Resilience Strategies of Beijing and Copenhagen

Like numerous other cities, Beijing and Copenhagen are experiencing more frequent urban flooding due to increased impervious cover and climate change. Consequently, huge investments are foreseen to maintain resilience. Analyses of planning documents and interviews with key stakeholders reveal that in their climate resilience strategies both cities do employ alternative approaches based on on-site retention-detention of stormwater runoff.

However, when there is an emergency situation with heavy downpours, both cities rely heavily on conventional concepts involving deep tunnels for rapid discharge. The applied alternative solutions tend to be more engineering- based, like underground tanks in Beijing and detentiondischarge plazas in Copenhagen. More nature-based solutions lag behind.

Both cities are simultaneously targeting specific additional sustainability goals. Nevertheless, other potential goals seem to be neglected, like liveability improvements in Beijing and biodiversity support and water footprint reduction in Copenhagen.

Key takeaways:
  • While Beijing at the time of this study still lacked a final coherent plan for flood control operation, Copenhagen was in the implementation phase, with around 350 projects slated for completion over a two- to three-decade period.

  • As economically strong cities, Beijing and Copenhagen apply both conventional and alternative approaches in their current flood control strategies for enhancing climate resilience.

  • The main barriers for implementing more nature-based solutions with greater sustainability potentials were a combination of time constraints.

Download and read here.

The article was first published by Water Policy in 2017.