Montréal ranks fourth most “sponge-like” city, behind Mumbai, New York, and Singapore for its natural ability to absorb rainfall
As the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) gets underway, global sustainable development consultancy Arup today released its most northerly Sponge City Snapshot, showing that Montréal’s unique natural features provide a lesson in building resilience and addressing climate change risks in a cold climate.
Montréal emerges with a ranking of 29%, which places it in the fourth rank among the most “sponge-like” cities. The ranking measures cities’ natural ability to absorb rainwater. This places Montréal’s urban center just behind Mumbai, New York, and Singapore, at 30% jointly, and well ahead of London and Sydney which rank bottom, with 22% and 18% respectively. The ranking for Montréal adds to Arup’s Global Sponge Cities Snapshot, which profiles a dozen major cities – including London, Sydney, New York, Shanghai, and Singapore, among others -– and demonstrates the value of focusing on blue-green infrastructure solutions such as parks, wetlands, and trees as an alternative to concrete and grey stormwater infrastructure. Research from the World Economic Forum also shows that blue-green infrastructure solutions are not only extremely effective in managing water, but also on average are 50% more cost-effective than man-made alternatives, delivering 28% more added value. While all cities have an inherent “sponge” quality, their “sponginess” is a baseline absorbency indicator that can be improved through strategic interventions.