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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Citizen Willingness to Pay for the Implementation of Urban Green Infrastructure in the Pilot Sponge Cities in China

Zhang, Jingyi; Han, Yunfan; Qiao, Xiu-Juan; Randrup, Thomas B.


Urban green infrastructure has been widely used to in cities to solve stormwater problems caused by extreme weather events and urbanization around the world. However, the lack of a long-term funding mechanism for performing urban green infrastructure's functions has limited wider implementation. Factors influencing citizen attitudes and willingness to pay for urban green infrastructure vary from city to city. This study estimated the public's willingness to pay for urban green infrastructure, as well as compared the selected influencing factors of willingness to pay in different Chinese pilot sponge cities. The results show that 60% to 75% of all respondents in the cities were willing to support the implementation of urban green infrastructure in sponge cities, with those most willing to pay around 0-5 RMB/month (0-0.72 USD/month). The respondents' educational level was a significant influencing factor for their willingness to pay in all six cities, but age, gender and family monthly income correlated differently with respondents' willingness to pay in different cities. Previous knowledge of the sponge city concept and sponge city construction in the community were not significantly correlated with residents' willingness to pay. We conclude that local governments in China need to provide more information to the general public about the multiple ecosystem services, e.g., educational and recreational benefits, that urban green infrastructure can provide. In doing so, it will help a shift to urban green infrastructure as the solution to dealing with urban stormwater problems.


willingness to pay; urban green infrastructure; sponge cities; socio-demographic information

Published in

2023, Volume: 14, number: 3, article number: 474
Publisher: MDPI