An Urban Density-Based Runoff Simulation Framework to Envisage Flood Resilience of Cities

Naduni Wijayawardana, Chethika Abenayake, Amila Jayasinghe, Nuwan Dias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Assessing the influence of urban density on surface runoff volume is vital for guiding the built-form expansions toward flood-resilient cities. This paper attempts to develop a spatial simulation framework to assess the impact of urban density on the level of surface runoff (SR), at the scale of the micro-watershed. This paper proposes a spatial simulation framework that comprehensively captures the influence of urban density dynamics over surface runoff. The simulation model consists of 13 proxies of urban density that are identified through a systematic literature review. The model is formulated through three case applications in Colombo, Sri Lanka; and validated statistically and empirically with reference to flooding events that occurred in 2021–2022. The possible planning interventions for reducing urban flooding are analyzed through an AI-based application of Decision Tree Analysis. The model results indicated that impervious coverage, open space ratio, and road density have the most significant impact on surface runoff volumes in selected micro-watersheds. The decision-making process for planning the built environment for reducing urban flooding is demonstrated by three possible density control options with a prediction accuracy of 98.7%, 94.8%, and 93.5% respectively. This contributes a novel framework to capture the density dynamics of built form in surface runoff simulations by three density areas (3Ds): density, diversity, and design; and to demonstrate the decision-making process for controlling the density of built form in reducing urban flooding.
Original languageEnglish
Article number17
Number of pages23
JournalUrban Science
Issue number1
Early online date31 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023


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