Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Planning, Design, and the Built Environment

Committee Chair/Advisor

Mary G. Padua

Committee Member

Matthew Powers

Committee Member

Luis Enrique Ramos-Santiago

Committee Member

Caitlin Dyckman


The Sponge City Program (SCP) is a Chinese national-level policy initiative with the primary goal to ameliorate urban flooding created by rapid urbanization and climate change, and it incorporates both green and blue infrastructure strategies. China’s Sponge City construction guidelines (MOHURD, 2014) established the Volume Capture Ratio of Annual Rainfall (VCRa) as the SCP’s key performance index and a general target VCRa goal of 70% annual rainfall was set for all pilot Sponge Cities (General Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, 2015). Yet few studies have been conducted to assess the SCP’s obtainability of the 70% VCRa, and the SCP literature is limited in terms of the SCP’s effectiveness at the overall ecological assessment and continuous long-term assessment at the larger catchment scale. This study proposes an analytical framework for assessing the SCP and its effectiveness with the VCRa as a significant assessment metric. Sets of data as imbedded units, and variables for the case study analysis of three SCP pilot cities were collected and analyzed sequentially. Primary and secondary data sets were collected, generated, and analyzed sequentially through the following methods: 1) geospatial mapping; 2) archival research of precipitation rates and stream flows; 3) simulation models; and 4) risk-based assessment. Findings indicate the changes to imperviousness and land cover in the pre-sponge and post-sponge varied for each case study. The results of the simulation modelling indicate urban stormwater runoff is trending toward achieving the VCRa 70% target rate for the SCP case studies.



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