Summary of Why Do Chinese Cities Flood So Much?

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During the summer, heavy rain floods Chinese cities every year. Social media are awash with images and videos of streets turned into canals. Despite of governmental efforts to address the problem, it doesn’t seem to get better. In a well-researched piece, Wellestudio163 columnist Zhang Fan explores China’s dysfunctional urban planning policy and points out its failings. getAbstract recommends this in-depth read to anyone curious about China’s social issues and urbanization challenges.

About the Author

Zhang Fan is an op-ed columnist for the news collective Wellestudio163 which  specializes in social commentary and trending cultural topics.



Heavy summer rains inevitably lead to flooding in China. Whether you are out west in Chengdu, inland in Wuhan, down south in Xiamen or up north in Beijing, you’ll see clogged-up city streets and people wading through the water half submerged.

Larger metropolises experience more flooding than smaller cities. A 2010 study looked at 351 cities, and flooding occurred in 62% of them. In 137 cities, flooding occurred three times or more in a year, and in 57 of these cities, the water took longer than 12 hours to drain. As cities get bigger and develop more roads and buildings, they generate more heat – which gets trapped in the area. Warm air holds more moisture, which results in heavier downpours. Plus, asphalt and concrete paving in the cities don’t absorb the water as well as the vegetation and soil of rural areas, which is why cities depend on man-made drainage systems.

Often, city governments fail to account for population growth and neglect the much-needed modernization of ...

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