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Asian Development Bank

100 Climate Actions from Cities in Asia and the Pacific


Efforts to improve livability and address climate change in Yanji have a two-pronged focus on improving public transportation and resilience with sponge-city designs.

Yanji borders the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in an area that is particularly vulnerable to flooding. This is a significant problem given that this region will likely see increases in precipitation above even the high national average.

This seven-year, $250 million initiative plans to integrate low-carbon and resilient urban development measures to reduce emissions and provide flood protection in Yanji. It will feature the first bus rapid transit (BRT) system in the area and an emphasis on green landscaping, which will connect key areas of the city and decrease carbon emissions while also addressing traffic and public safety issues.



Landscaped paths, bicycle lanes, and river greenways will provide more attractive routes to bus stops and will increase the city’s capacity to retain and filter stormwater. This ‘sponge city’ infrastructure will be integrated with an improved drainage pipe network based on a hydraulic model that simulates future storm scenarios, resulting in reduced urban flooding risks.

The project is supported by an ADB loan.

The project hopes to increase the city’s resilience to future climatic events while also reducing migration from the city to coastal mega-urban areas (photo by ADB).

The Challenge

Yanji suffers from inefficient public transport, traffic congestion, unsafe conditions for pedestrians, a lack of green spaces, and vulnerability to flooding.


Economic The project will create employment opportunities, and will result in increased savings in vehicle operating costs, travel times, and wastewater treatment costs.

Social Improved urban mobility, road safety, and city greening will create a more secure and pleasant living environment for Yanji residents and tourists.

Environment Sponge city infrastructure and expanded green spaces will improve surface water quality, reduce air and soil pollution, and provide carbon sequestration for the city.