Location: Pearl River Delta (China)
Status: Regional integral spatial development and flood risk management strategy
Client: Delta Competition
Collaboration: Delft University of Technology
Publication: Innovative Solutions for the Delta

Because of their favourable location, coastal cities are often densely populated and of great economic value. However, these regions’ vulnerability to disaster grows, as flood risk increases. In a 2013 study of The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), China’s Guangzhou was found to be the most vulnerable coastal city in overall cost of damage.
This vulnerability will increase in time since rising sea levels and climate change add to the probability a flood. Simultaneously, both the increasing urban density as well as the unplanned urban expansion in the low lying areas adds to the economic damage and fatalities in case of a flood. The pressure on land has resulted in large scale land reclamation projects along the coastal edges, creating additional low-lying and vulnerable land.

In this competition, Defacto demonstrated how integrated flood risk and spatial planning at the regional scale can contribute to the sustainable growth of delta regions, whilst anticipating on rising water levels in the future. The Chinese Pearl River Delta is especially suited for such an approach, since the governments’ central role in planning could allow for implementation of such a regional strategy, in contrast to other developing countries.