Case study cities

Each of the case study cities chosen by CORFU has been observed for many years with urban flood modelling and has an extensive record of urban flood management.

In determining their choices, the CORFU project partners have considered flooding issues and current management strategies, and identified available datasets in the following cities: Barcelona, Beijing, Dhaka, Hamburg, Mumbai, Nice, Taipei, Incheon/Seoul.

Asian case studies are from the three countries that were specified in the call for submissions:  China, India and Bangladesh.  These cities represent some of the most important and flood-prone cities.  We believe these to be excellent choices which will enable us to test the new methodologies comprehensively and to disseminate them among local institutions, technical people, and citizens' groups.

CORFU researchers come from a wide range of disciplines relevant to dealing with urban flooding: hydrology, hydraulics, urban planning, economics, social sciences, technology and management. 

Case study selection

Major urban centre with history of flooding
Relevance to a variety of spatial scales
Specific flooding problems which are not common
To cover a wide range of conditions
Flooding problems with varying cause and scale
To cover all relevant types of flooding
Local flood management systems with varying existing sophistication levels
Potential for knowledge exchange
Team members are involved in development of local flood management strategies
Our good understanding of case studies
Rich databases with rainfall patterns, urban surfaces and drainage systems exist
To reduce start-up phase of project
Verified hydrologic and hydraulic models exist and are accessible
To build on earlier sound S/T analysis
Possibilities for engagement of stakeholders and their interest are present
To enable wide dissemination of results


Barcelona is a densely urbanized city on the Mediterranean coast in Northern Spain. It has bright cool winters and even brighter hot summers with occasional high intensity rainfall events causing serious flooding. 


Beijing is located at the northern tip of the North China Plain, near the meeting point of the Xishan and Yansham mountain ranges.  The city itself lies on flat land at elevations between 20m and 60m, open to the east and south.  The municipality's outlying districts and counties extend into the mountains that surround the city from the southwest to the northeast.


Dhaka is a megacity and one of the major cities of South Asia. Located on the banks of the Buriganga River, Dhaka, along with its metropolitan area, has a population of over 15 million, making it the largest city in Bangladesh, and is among the most densely populated and fastest growing cities in the world.

Dhaka is located in the geographic center of the country in the great deltaic region of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers.   Dhaka is served by the port of Narayanganj, located 16 km to the southeast. The city is within the monsoon climate zone, with an annual average temperature of 25 C.

Nearly 80% of the annual average rainfall of 1,854 mm (73 in) occurs between May and September.


Hamburg is a major transportation hub in northern Germany, located at the northern extremity of the lower Elbe Valley.  Two other rivers flow into the Elbe at Hamburg—the Alster from the north and the Bille from the east.  Sea level rise due to climate change will dramatically increase the probability of flood hazards for the City of Hamburg in the next century.


Mumbai lies at the mouth of Ulhas River on the western coast of India in the coastal region known as the Konkan.  Most of Mumbai is at sea level and the average elevation ranges from 10 to 15 m. The northern part of Mumbai lies at the mouth of Ulhas River on the western coast of India in the coastal region known as the Konkan.  Most of Mumbai is at sea level and the average elevation ranges from 10 to 15 m. The northern part of Mumbai is hilly and the highest point of the city is at 450 m. Mumbai spans a total area of 468 sq km.


Nice is located on la Baie des Anges, at the mouth of the Paillon River. The city stretches over a coastal plain and is sheltered from cold winds by a crescent of hills on the north and northeast.


Taipei is located in the north of the island nation of Taiwan. For this case study we have selected the central area of Taipei, comprising an area of 120km2 with 1.7 million inhabitants. Taipei is located in the downstream floodplain of the Danshuei River Basin, surrounded by the Danshuei River and its tributaries.


Incheon Metropolitan City has an average annual temperature of 12.7C and annual precipitation of 1300 mm.   The city is geographically located in the centre of a large west coast port city of Northeast Asia where it acts as a gateway to Seoul, and the rest of South Korea.  To the west of Incheon Metropolitan City lies the Yellow Sea with the Han River, one of the main rivers of South Korea, located to its north.

Seoul, officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest city of South Korea. A megacity with a population of over 10 million, it is one of the largest cities in the world.