Nature‐based solutions for urban pluvial flood risk management

Yijing Huang, Zhan Tian, Qian Ke, Junguo Liu, Masoud Irannezhad, Dongli Fan, Meifang Hou, Laixiang Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleScientificpeer-review


Urban pluvial flooding now occurs more frequently than it has in past decades, mainly due to an increasing number of extreme precipitation events occurring in the context of a changing climate. To limit the evolving risks of urban pluvial flooding in a more environmentally friendly manner, the research community has recently paid increasing attention to Nature‐Based Solutions (NBS), which are based on new green technologies. To meet the urgent demand for a comprehensive review of the most recent literature, this review conducts a systematic survey of the literature to characterize various NBS adopted in different regions of the world and to elaborate on the benefits and limitations of such NBS. The review highlights the role of NBS in urban flood risk management under ongoing climate change and rapid urbanization. It shows that NBS could effectively mitigate urban flooding caused by high‐frequency precipitation events, with additional economic, ecological, and social benefits. However, NBS are less effective at helping cope with pluvial flooding caused by extreme precipitation events over a short period of time, while gray infrastructures also have limitations as a mitigation measure against extreme pluvial flooding. We thus recommend identifying flood risk management strategies by evaluating the performance of alternative combinations of NBS with gray infrastructures in preventing pluvial flooding in the cities. Finally, recent advances made in the applications of NBS are presented with suggestions (e.g., long‐term monitoring) to improve urban flood adaptive management.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1421
Number of pages17
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Extreme precipitation
  • Nature-based solutions
  • Risk Management
  • Urban pluvial flooding

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