Sponge city

Due to climate change, it is expected that dry periods in summer will be more common. In winter, heavy precipitation is increasing both in intensity and frequency. As a consequence, town and city planning will need to focus on future-oriented and sustainable ways to manage water as a resource.

Sponge city concept

The sponge city concept aims to improve the urban water cycle for people and nature, thus combatting climate change.

Rainwater should be stored locally, reducing the extent of any runoff. This is achieved by allowing water to seep directly into the ground or to evaporate from planted areas, thus returning it to the water cycle. Absorbent soils, unsealed areas, planted spaces and expanses of water are becoming increasingly important. Increased surface runoff caused by heavy precipitation can be countered by avoiding impervious surfaces and incorporating natural retention basins and making other adjustments to the terrain.

How we can help you become a sponge city

We offer advice about the sponge city concept and help you with your action plan. This gives you the ideal way to prepare your city/residential area with regard to the water cycle and climate change.

Computer-based modelling is used as a decision-making tool for potential measures. Possible applications of modelling:

• Preparation and presentation of hazards/risks in the event of drought, heavy rainfall, surface water, floods, etc.
• Modelling before and after possible measures (e.g. spread of water in the area and the effective intensity).
• Developing a list of measures (green spaces, site selection for natural retention basins, removal of impervious surfaces, terrain adjustments, expanses of water, etc.).
• Impact of planned protective measures/terrain modifications on neighbouring properties.
• Calculation and representation of the impact of an event on specific objects, e.g. in the case of heavy rain (force on buildings, water inundation level etc.)
• Planning ventilation corridors to avoid heat islands


Further links on the topic of sponge cities can be found here:

FOEN Guideline "Rainwater in Residential Areas (in german, french or italian)

100-second roundup: SRF2 Culture explains sponge cities in a nutshell (german only)

Do you have any questions or would you like some advice? Please get in touch!