Nature-Based Solutions in a Guyuan Urban Park to Mitigate Flood Risk and Enhance Community Resilience

Beijing Yuren Raineco Technology Co.,Ltd.
Published: 31 July 2023
Last edited: 31 July 2023
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Guyuan City in China has faced increasing challenges of flooding and other environmental issues as a result of rapid urbanization. These problems have been exacerbated by extreme rainfall events attributed to climate change. In response, China introduced the Sponge City Initiative in 2014 to mitigate the adverse impacts.


As part of this initiative, a Sponge City Park was designed and built in Guyuan City along the Qingshui River. The park integrated various considerations, including urban flood mitigation, protection of riparian areas, stormwater retention, and the provision of recreational spaces. 


With the construction of this stream-themed park, the once open space has transformed into a local attraction, allowing residents to have direct access to water bodies and enjoy the beauty of nature. Additionally, the park plays a crucial role in enhancing urban resilience and adapting to climate change city-wide, aligning with the broader objectives of the Sponge City Initiative.


East Asia
Scale of implementation
Area-wide development
Buildings and facilities
Connective infrastructure, networks and corridors
Green spaces (parks, gardens, urban forests)
Urban ecosystem and build environment
Cities and infrastructure
Erosion prevention
Urban planning
Water provision and management
One Health
Good governance of landscapes
Health effects of climate change and pollution
Urban and Disaster Risk Management
Resilience and disaster risk management
Sustainable urban infrastructure and services
Erratic rainfall
Pollution (incl. eutrophication and litter)
Infrastructure development
Lack of infrastructure
Sustainable development goals
SDG 6 – Clean water and sanitation
SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
SDG 13 – Climate action
Aichi targets
Target 8: Pollution reduced
Target 10: Ecosystems vulnerable to climate change
Target 11: Protected and conserved areas
Sendai Framework
Target 4: Reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, among them health and educational facilities, including through developing their resilience by 2030


Guyuan city, Ningxia province, China


The project faces three significant challenges:

1: Drainage and flooding issues: The frequency of river flooding has escalated due to factors such as increased impervious surfaces, inadequate consideration of hydrologic and hydraulic aspects, erosion of waterways, ineffective floodplain management regulations, and the degradation of riparian zones caused by urbanization.

2: Insufficient open space: The project site is situated in a highly developed region of Guyuan City with a scarcity of open spaces. Despite the presence of numerous large communities in the area, the availability of local parks and recreational areas is inadequate, failing to meet the needs of the population.

3: Biodiversity and landscape quality: The rapid pace of urbanization and the presence of aging grey infrastructure have led to a decline in biodiversity. There is a pressing need for improved landscaping to enhance the aesthetic appeal and ecological diversity of the area.


Citizens: better living conditions;

City: economic losses due to floods are reduced; retention volume credits and water quality improvements are counted towards the Sponge CIty goals set by the central government.

How do the building blocks interact?

The project design and implementation process is a comprehensive advancement, in which every element interacts with each other. All building blocks are essential in achieving multiple goals on a solid common base of investigation and flood mapping. Beyond that, all experts in stormwater management, hydronic modeling, landscape design, and ecosystem preservation are all involved in this project with mutually agreed NbS and Sponge City concepts in mind. 



1: The park effectively mitigates flood risk in the floodplain area by offering natural detention and floodwater storage within and along the river.

2: Drainage from surrounding areas is significantly enhanced, ensuring better management of off-site run-ons.

3: The park contributes to the preservation and enhancement of biodiversity by improving the natural habitat and conserving diverse ecological patterns.

4: In addition to flood mitigation measures, the park serves as a valuable open space for residents, providing both local water access and ample recreational areas for the community to enjoy.

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Jelena Geng Beijing Yuren Raineco Technology Co.,Ltd.

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