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The number of cities around the world is growing quickly. In her book, Replenish: The Virtuous Cycle of Water and Prosperity, Sandra Postel, the director of the Global Water Policy Project, reports that over the past 35 years, the number of cities in China alone has climbed from 193 to 653. As urban and suburban areas expand, the stormwater runoff problems will grow as well.
But now there’s a movement around the world to build smarter and “spongier” cities that can absorb rainwater instead of letting it flow through miles of pavement and cause damaging floods. From Iowa to Vermont and from San Francisco to Chicago, urban infrastructure is getting a reboot.