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Effects of Urban Forms on Separate Drainage Systems: A Virtual City Perspective

School of Environment, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
Unit of Environmental Engineering, University of Innsbruck, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
China Minsheng Banking Co., Ltd., Beijing 100031, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(4), 758;
Received: 23 January 2019 / Revised: 20 February 2019 / Accepted: 9 April 2019 / Published: 11 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Water Management and Urban Flooding)
PDF [2313 KB, uploaded 21 April 2019]


The development of urban drainage systems is challenged by rapid urbanization; however, little attention is paid to the urban form and its effects on these systems. This study develops an integrated city-drainage model that configures typical urban forms and their associated drainage infrastructures, specifically domestic wastewater and rainwater systems, to analyze the relationship between them. Three typical types of urban forms were investigated: the square, the star, and the strip. Virtual cities were designed first, with the corresponding drainage systems generated automatically and then linked to a model herein called the Storm Water Management Model (SWMM). Evaluation was based on 200 random configurations of wastewater/rainwater systems with different structures or attributes. The results show that urban forms play more important roles on three dimensions of performance, namely economic efficiency, effectiveness, and adaptability, of the rainwater systems than of the wastewater systems. Cost is positively correlated to the effectiveness of rainwater systems among the different urban forms, while adaptability is negatively correlated to the other two performance dimensions. Regardless of the form, it is difficult for a city to make its drainage systems simultaneously cost-effective, efficient, and adaptable based on the virtual cities we investigated. This study could inspire the urban planning of both built-up and to-be-built areas to become more sustainable with their drainage infrastructure by recognizing the pros and cons of different macroscale urban forms. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban form; urban drainage system; integrated modelling; virtual city; performance evaluation; urban planning urban form; urban drainage system; integrated modelling; virtual city; performance evaluation; urban planning

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Jia, N.; Sitzenfrei, R.; Rauch, W.; Liang, S.; Liu, Y. Effects of Urban Forms on Separate Drainage Systems: A Virtual City Perspective. Water 2019, 11, 758.

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