Innovation That Matters

| Photo source All rights reserved by Vertuo / Juliette Alexandre

Spreading plants in cities even where there is little soil

Springwise ChangeNOW

This French startup is finding solutions to boost nature in cities and make them greener

Spotted: By 2050, the majority of countries will have more inhabitants living in cities than rural areas, and the urban built environment will continue to grow accordingly. Not only does increasing urbanisation infringe upon essential local biodiversity as natural areas make way for tower blocks, but urban cities are also at greater risk of flooding because of the introduction of hard, impervious surfaces like, stone. This means less water is able to infiltrate the ground when it rains. As a solution, French startup Vertuo is implementing a rainwater management strategy with its innovative and modular nature blocks. 

The startup has created two solutions: Oasis and Urban Bocage. Urban Bocage is a solution that uses modular cubes buried flush with the ground, designed specifically for spaces where there is no longer direct access to soil. In each block, there is a planter and water retention basin, and many can be fitted together to create a planted hydraulic network that makes use of runoff rain to water plants within the cubes. 

Oasis blocks function much the same way by collecting rainwater for self-irrigating plants, except they also act as a green furniture system and can be fitted with wooden seats to create outdoor rest areas. The Lego-like system is easy to install, does not require civil engineering, and can be deployed in one day.  

Both systems aim to make plants autonomous in the city by revaluing rainwater automatically and maintaining good soil moisture all year round, without the need for expensive maintenance and time-consuming groundskeeping.  

There are many innovations out there trying to make cities greener. Springwise has spotted a bioreceptive concrete that provides the perfect home for moss, and plant canopies for urban reforestation.

Written By: Anam Alam



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