The Berlin Network “Urban Waters” in China

The interdisciplinary research network “Urban Waters” interconnects national and international actors, which are involved in measures for river and lake regeneration in the urban environment. This network is organized by the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries.

At the end of October 2017, this research network organized an exploratory journey with partners to China. In the cities of Beijing, Wuhan and Jining, participants attended one-day conferences on the ecological development of rivers and lakes in the city and held talks aimed at intensifying the collaboration with local organizations.

The discussions showed that interest in urban ecology has grown enormously in China. Experts are aware that the construction boom is going hand in hand with an increase in impervious surfaces, densification and loss of natural land. These are problems requiring countermeasures focussed on the population’s well being.

As the delegation made its way through the country, it saw that much effort is already being made in this area. In Wuhan, the concept of the “sponge city” is being addressed on a large scale in parks and riverbanks are being restored as landscaped parks.

The German delegation’s contributions on the theme of rainwater management and in particular, the KURAS project, were met with great interest.

Urban Waters research network delegation:

  • Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries
  • The engineering bureau Prof. Sieker mbh
  • Berlin Centre of Competence for Water
  • University of Greifswald – GETIDOS social-ecological platform

Chinese partner organisations

  • City of Beijing: Chinese Academy of Sciences – Biodiversity Committee
  • City of Wuhan: Ministry of Water Resources & Chinese Academy of Sciences: Institute of Hydroecology; Wuhan University: School of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering
  • City of Jining: EU-China Municipal Development Commission

Foto: Yangtze river bank, Wuhan