May 7, 2014, by Blue-Green team
Faith Chan (UNNC) meets with Blue-Green Cities in Portland, May 2014
Rapid socio-economic growth and human-induced developmental effects in China is making an eye-catching global success story with tremendous business and employment opportunities attracting huge settlements on China’s coastal port cities. However, the projected effects of climate change may mean more frequent cyclonic storms, surges and intensive rainfall. In addition, these populous Chinese coastal cities are currently exposed to flood risk as illustrated by numerous recent floods, e.g. in Ningbo in winter 2013. Continuous urban development and the associated deterioration of natural habitat and environment raise a huge conflict between managing flood risk and environmental conservation.
This visit to Portland with the Blue-Green Cities (B-GCs) Research Consortium has given me a great opportunity to understand some tried and tested sustainable flood risk management strategies that have been adopted by the City of Portland and the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES). I am also honoured to be involved with the B-GCs consortium on a current collaborated research project “Clean Water for All (CWFA)” with North-West US academics from Portland State University and Reed College.
The project has inspired me to understand some important approaches to mitigating flood risk by water engineering under the context of sustainability and resilience.
More importantly, the research foci is on the core issue on managing water resources sustainably in the urban water environment by stormwater management, conservation of urban water ecology and water reuse, under the challenge of climate change and urban development.
I have visited some of the restoration sites on Johnson Creek (one of the large local watersheds in Portland), and was really impressed by the attitudes, ambitions and how they try to manage flood risk differently by using natural approaches that also meet restoration and habitat improvement objectives, e.g. restoring floodplains for flood water and ecological enhancement. This work can be viewed in more detail on the Johnson Creek Watershed Councils’ website and from BES.
I am convinced that this Portland research visit will generate some fruitful research visions and possibilities to synergise and adapt these for application in Chinese populous coastal cities. Keep posted for updates on the Portland experience!