Dhaka North City Corporation
Expanding green spaces to create a more inclusive and livable city

Low-lying Bangladesh is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change; Dhaka North is one of the densely populated cities on earth, leading to a lack of clean, green urban spaces for millions of residents. Dhaka also welcomes an estimated 2,000 new arrivals every day, 26% of whom are climate migrants fleeing from floods and droughts in rural areas to find a safer life in the city.

To manage the impacts of urban growth, Dhaka North is increasing urban green space by 70% and public toilet access by 80%, ensuring millions more residents will have access to recreational areas and clean and sanitary bathroom facilities. The city is also developing 16 parks, three playgrounds, rainwater harvesting facilities, and improving pavements and cycling routes.

The green spaces will increase climate resilience to heat waves and flooding, reduce greenhouse emissions, and create areas that are both equitable and accessible. It is estimated that 60% of the project beneficiaries will be women, children and low-income residents; the city has considered women’s safety and designated women’s corners and single-sex toilets in every park. Migrants, often displaced by climate impacts, regularly find themselves living in informal settlements and tensions with locals sometimes arise; increasing green space means that new areas will be opened up for residents to mix, mingle and break down social barriers. By the end of 2022, Dhaka North aims to provide green spaces that are accessible within a 15-minute walk for 20% of the population.

Safeguarding drinking water to improve water security and circularity

Climate breakdown is causing more frequent and severe heat waves, changing rainfall patterns and water scarcity in Lisbon. The city is responding to this threat by recycling water from three treatment plants, providing potable water and ensuring residents have reliable access to clean and safe drinking water.

Lisbon currently uses 75% of its drinking water reserves for non-potable uses such as irrigation and street cleaning. To reduce this, the city has invested €20 billion in creating a 55-kilometre-long reclaimed water distribution network; 8.6 kilometres are already built. The city is also introducing water circularity through its Wastewater Reuse Plan; the initiative will reuse more than 1 million m3 of the highest quality reused wastewater to irrigate many urban parks. Lisbon’s Taguspark is the first to use reclaimed water to nourish its flowers and trees.

Lower tariffs are in place for recycled water compared with drinking water, enabling Lisbon to save €26.8 million by 2030, and the city has already saved almost €3 million due to the initiative.

The city estimates the programme will reduce drinking water use for non-potable purposes by 69% and water-related emissions by 50% compared with 2020 levels, thereby preventing water scarcity while protecting the public and environment’s health. The Wastewater Reuse Plan effectively educates residents on the issue of water scarcity and receives strong public support.

Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara
Nidos de lluvia: enhancing local water resilience

In 2021, Jalisco experienced a severe drought, leading to low water supplies and water shortages for city residents. In response, the Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara launched the Nidos de Lluvia (Rain Nests) programme. The programme aims to improve water access by installing rainwater harvesting systems in the most water-vulnerable neighbourhoods. The harvesting system collects rainwater and channels it through filters for cleaning and storage. Families and schools in areas most affected by drought can apply to have the system installed to ensure access to safe and healthy drinking water in times of drought.

The Nidos de Lluvia programme is easy to replicate and emphasises community participation. Women were responsible for most water-obtaining tasks on top of childcare responsibilities; therefore, community boards that serve as Nidos de Lluvia training centres offer child-friendly services that accommodate school hours. The boards also provide educational sessions that support illiterate residents and those without an internet connection.

As a result of the programme, 16 million litres of water were collected via 600 harvesting systems, providing water to over 2,000 residents in 2021. Metro Guadalajara estimates that by 2024, nearly 60,000 people will have improved water security, reducing the rates of critical water vulnerability by 67%.

Wuhan’s one-hundred-mile Yangtze river ecological corridor

Wuhan lies on the banks of the Yangtze River and has large bodies of water covering around 25% of the city’s area. Due to this, Wuhan is particularly vulnerable to flooding and rainstorms, posing a serious threat to urban security. The city is taking action to upgrade 396 kilometres of shorelines of the Yangtze River Economic Belt to improve flood control capacity and the area’s ecological, cultural, and landscape functions, as it is a vital region for trade along China’s rivers.

The city is also implementing a flood control system, strengthening disaster prevention by improving flood-control measures, drainage facilities and expanding rainwater-pumping stations. Wuhan will build an ecological corridor that connects the river and city to enhance urban greening and water quality, and a cultural corridor to showcase historical features.

By the end of 2021, Wuhan created 638 hectares of wetlands, with an estimated 196.4 hectares of existing green areas renovated, resulting in increased biodiversity and carbon sinks. Around 103,000 m2 of highly polluting buildings have been demolished to reduce the city’s overall emissions. Additionally, Wuhan’s flood resilience project effectively returns the rivers, riverbanks and riverside landscape to residents, thus making the city more livable, business-friendly and attractive for tourists.