From rain to runoff: How can better building design help cities?

October 13, 2017 Sanjana Saluja

Expanding cities and changing weather patterns are leaving urban areas increasingly vulnerable to flooding, JLL Real Views explores how building design and better urban planning can play a key role in mitigating the risks and minimizing damage.

Though hurricanes and other major natural events remain relatively rare, flash storms and heavy rainfall are becoming more common across parts of Europe and the US. According to the European Environment Agency, heavy rainfall has become more common across the north of Europe since the 1960s, and the trend is predicted to continue. In the U.S., the National Climate Assessment has observed above-average rainfall since 1991, with the greatest increase in the Northeast, Midwest, and upper Great Plains regions, which have seen a rise of over 30 percent compared to pre-1960 levels.

At the same time, cities continue to grow upwards and outwards, which can compound the effects of heavy rainfall. “The more impermeable surfaces you have, the more you obstruct natural runoff,” says Franz Jenowein, JLL’s Director of Global Sustainability Research. “This translates to greater potential for excess water to negatively affect cities.”

Click here to learn how planning and building design can make a difference.  

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