EcoShape develops toolkit for greening cities

EcoShape and partners signed a ‘CityDeal’ last year to work together on climate-resistant cities. EcoShape and the municipality of Dordrecht coordinate the ‘Building with Nature’ project within the CityDeal. In the cities of Zwolle, Dordrecht and Eindhoven we investigate how greening cities may mitigate the effects of climate change such as heavy rain, drought and heat and how it contributes to an attractive city.

Aniel Balla, project manager from EcoShape and Witteveen+Bos, says: “In Dordrecht a university student wrote his Master thesis for us, studying the city parks Weizigt and Wielwijk. These parks in Dordrecht regularly suffer from flooding after heavy rain, which means that you can’t walk in these parks and that the planting is negatively affected.”

The research provided several useful solutions. Aniel: “Along the Weizigtpark there is a waterway. Widening this waterway with a marshland creates more space for water catchment. A second possibility is creating swales in the park where the water can infiltrate.”

What’s interesting about the project is that the team does not look at parks or other areas as isolated locations in the city, but considers them to be part of the overall green structure in the city. “For the Weizigt park, we see possibilities for connecting the park with the green strip along the train track, which is connected with the green spaces in the rest of the city.” Aniel explains.

The ultimate goal of the CityDeal is to develop two toolboxes. The first is a starter kit that helps determine if a location is suitable for greening. This toolkit allows you to review a location for ecosystem services. The second toolkit is for specialists in municipalities with which they can quickly see what social and physical environment conditions they should take into account for the design of a green solution. This toolkit provides a set of possibilities given local conditions.

Aniel: “The most interesting thing about this project is that different specialists work in parallel rather than follow up. The person responsible for maintenance works together with water specialists, nature experts and groundskeepers to design the best measures. This leads to better solutions.” The project started in 2016 and runs until 2019.