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Sustainable City

Densely populated, buildings, infrastructure and transport. How sustainable is the city? I took my camera and went out in my own city: Utrecht, the Netherlands. How much nature is there in the area? And which solutions are applied in the fight against climate change, to create more biodiversity and to be able to guarantee healthy air quality for the people that live there?

Along the way I saw many opportunities for improvement, but I also saw many positive and great initiatives to make the city more sustainable, clean and healthy.

Bee Friendly Busstop

Bee-friendly bus stops

Utrecht transformed more than 300 bus stops in this way to make the city more sustainable and greener. For example, the air is filtered by the sedum, which improves the air quality in the city, the green roof provides cooling on hot days and the plants collect rainwater that is slowly released back into the sewer so that there is less flooding during heavy rainfall.

In addition, the green roofs increase the biodiversity in the city, although such a bus stop seems to make little difference. However, all bus stops together provide one large network of sedum throughout the city. This is important for the insects such as butterflies and bees. Utrecht was the first to have these bee-friendly bus stops, but they inspired others cities and abroad to make their bus stops green as well. In this way we can together contribute to a sustainable and greener world in the city.

Grass Tiles against flooding

In places in the city where infrastructure takes place, like a parking lot for vehicles, grass tiles offer a solution against the consequences of climate change, such as more extreme weather. Due to heavy rainfall, we more often suffer from flooding. This mainly happens in places where the water cannot sink into the ground, mostly in the city where a lot of brick and concrete hold back the water.

Placing grass tiles in parking lots creates space for water to drain into the ground. In addition, grass tiles provide more greenery in built-up areas and the succulents increase biodiversity for insects such as butterflies and bees.

Electric Beer Boat in Utrecht canals

The city of Utrecht is known for its city center with wharf cellars along the inner canals. Originally, the cellars were intended as storage and passage space for goods that could be supplied and removed from the ground floor by water, but nowadays many restaurants and terraces are located there.

In order to the supply the restaurants on the canals in a more sustainable way and prevent heavy vehicles from having to drive over the yards, Utrecht has replaced the so-called ‘beer boat’ with an electrically powered boat. All under the slogan “Save the yards for later, opt for transport by water”.

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