1st EUROPEAN GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CONFERENCE - SOME ABSTRACTS

Here a first delivery of abstracts - in this case from SCIENTIFIC SESSION 1 :

- GREEN WALL TECHNOLOGY 2015: READY FOR THE MARKET? SIX GREEN WALL SYSTEMS AND THEIR PERFORMANCE. By Dr. Els Mechant, PSC Ornamental Plant Research, Belgium

- CLIMBER WALLS: IMPACT ON TEMPERATURE AND RELATIVE HUMIDITY DURING SUMMER IN THE UK. By Faye Thomsit-Ireland, University of Reading, United Kingdom

- STORMWATER MANAGEMENT VIA BLUE-GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE IN SEESTADT ASPERN, VIENNA, ONE OF EUROPE'S LARGEMST CITY DEVELOPMENT AREAS. By Karl Grimm, Karl Grimm Landscape Architects, Austria

- IMPLEMENTING URBAN RAINWATER MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS: BETWEEN POLICY AND PRACTICE. By Natalia Gracia Soler, Leibniz Institute for Regional Development & Structural Planning, Germany

- BREATHING WALLS: NEW GESIGNS FOR GREEN WALLS ENHANCING ECOLOGICAL PATTERNS OF PERFORMANCE. By Leila Tolderlund, University of Colorado Denver, US

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Else Mechant

Outdoor living wall systems explored:
monitoring and practical evaluation for implementation in cities.

Six commercial outdoor living wall systems were monitored and evaluated for 2 years to determine their strengths and weaknesses regarding substrate, fertigation, plant selection and maintenance, technical issues and sustainability.

Living wall systems (LWS) have great potential for (re)greening cities. Nevertheless, their implementation is still marginal and not always successful. A practical and objective evaluation of commercially available systems is needed, as knowledge of strengths and weaknesses of each system allow further optimisation and elaborated plant selection.
Therefore, pilot-installations (4m²) of six systems were installed in 2013 at PCS Ornamental Plant Research: PlantDesign, Wallflore-Per-E, 90-Green (Vertical Green Company), LivePanel-Outdoor (Mobilane), Flexipanel (Sempergreen), and Muurtuin.be.
The effect of orientation, plant selection and fertilisation between systems was minimized through the experimental set-up. From start till present, following parameters were monitored and evaluated: water and nutrient consumption, plant growth and maintenance, weediness, water distribution and retention, ornamental value, and technical issues.
The results allow a substantiated choice for the best LWS fitted to each individual green infrastructure project as well as an optimal plant selection for the chosen system. Better choices will result in better performance and, thus, stimulate the implementation of LWS in cities.  In addition, discovered weaknesses stimulate producers to optimize their system. During current and future experiments, additional systems will be evaluated, and more plant species will be tested to determine which plants are best fit for each system.

 

Faye Thomsit-Ireland

Understanding the impact of vegetative cover on temperature and relative humidity (RH) in summer weather conditions in the UK

While vegetated façades may provide cooling benefits in summer, this must be balanced against the effect of increased relative humidity around the building envelope.

Green façades provide a number of benefits including reduced temperature extremes around the building, trapping particulate pollutants, supporting biodiversity etc. However, there is still concern among architects and construction engineers that vegetation increases relative humidity (RH) around the building envelope and will lead to damp problems within the building. To investigate this, we made outdoor summertime measurements during 2014 in Reading (UK) on model buildings (insulated brick cuboids) which had vegetative cover provided by Hedera helix, Parthenocissus tricuspidata ‘vetchii’ or Pileostegia viburnoides. Four replicates of each species were tested alongside bare buildings. The internal temperature was significantly lower for all vegetated buildings, compared with the bare buildings.  The RH however, was significantly higher under the Hedera foliage than any other treatment during the warmest measured days. This indicated that while vegetation may provide a cooling effect during the summer, the increase in RH especially under dense foliage such as established Hedera helix may change the moisture dynamics around the building. Additionally species and cultivar choice might be important to control the RH rise. Our work is now focusing on developing a year-round understanding of impact for a number of climbing plant species, in a range of weather scenarios.

 

Karl Grimm

Stormwater Management by Blue-Green Infrastructure in Vienna, Austria

A feasibility study for Vienna’s largest urban development area demonstrates different approaches to stormwater management, pinpoints structural and legal obstacles to implementation and sets the agenda for necessary policy decisions.

Seestadt Aspern is Vienna’s largest development area which is being built by 2025 in three construction phases.  Initially the implementation of stormwater management on individual building lots was only partly successfully.
The study is basis for decisions on the future drainage concept.  It examines and sizes both a decentralized and semi-decentralized approach based on current state of the art techniques. Using the new artificial lake for flood detention stormwater could be disconnected entirely from the sewer system. Hydraulic requirements need to be incorporated in the overall design of the topography and streets, so storm water planning should precede or coincide with urban design.
Round table panels with the city administration pinpointed administrative and legal obstacles. These could not be completely eliminated. Major topics of discussion were the possible chloride contamination of groundwater by winter maintenance and the possible liabilities of the municipality for explicitly discharging stormwater in streets, parks and the lake. Administrative proceedings are not yet on the same status as the technical possibilities of green infrastructure. Times required for getting approval are not keeping pace with project developments.
Necessary future steps include influencing municipal policies and ensuring an early involvement of landscape architects in master planning.

 

Natalia García Soler 

Implementing urban rainwater management systems: Between policy and practice

Berlin’s experience in rainwater man-agement since the 1980s is analyzed. The evolution of policy and planning instruments, and implemented projects is assessed and contrasted, focusing on shifting institutional arrangements.

Despite the multiple benefits of sus-tainable urban rainwater management and the variety of technical and instru-mental options to support its imple-mentation (from green roofs, retention ponds, infiltration trenches, permeable pavements to collection and use), these practices seem to be generally re-stricted to isolated model projects. This paper presents preliminary findings from UrbanRain, a research project funded by the Swedish Research Foun-dation (Formas), examining the chal-lenges and opportunities for main-streaming rainwater harvesting in three European cities. We review the evolu-tion of rainwater management practices in Berlin over the last 35 years. For that, we map and typify implemented pro-jects (according to targeted problems, envisaged solutions, how, when and where implemented and stakeholders involved), and assess policy and plan-ning instruments applied, paying special attention to changing institutional ar-rangements. This retrospective analysis points at connections between the evo-lution of instruments and projects. For example, while in the 1980s large, pub-lic pilot projects predominated; smaller private projects have increased since the 2000s. Tools like, targeted funding, split wastewater tariffs, tender re-quirements or discharge prohibition appear to be crucial behind this devel-opment. The paper concludes by syn-thesizing the findings of this analysis and depicting what implications they have for mainstreaming rainwater man-agement in the future. 

 

Leila Tonderlund

Breathing Walls - Ecological Patterns of Performance

A series of hybrid living walls optimizing urban ecological performance combining innovative materials + new patters/forms: ‘Living Gills’; ‘Breathing Walls’; ‘Sponge’; ‘Living Folds’; and ‘Digestive Skin’.

1. Living Gills - a hybrid modular system that uses sound, sculpture, light, plants, and network to create meaningful connections and beautiful spaces in the urban environment. Living Gills modular pocket system is inspired by mushroom gills with organic patterns of appearance, yet simultaneously modular qualities.

2. B. Hotel - a hybrid ‘living’ wall system that challenges the way we currently think about urban architectural surfaces. B. Hotel living walls are designed to help mitigate the bee Colony Collapse Disorder (CDD) and help grow and accommodate life locally for mason bees.  

3. Breathing Walls: - a hybrid green wall with built-in air purification made from organic concrete is inspired by the principles of the Japanese philosophy; Wabi Sabi. Breathing Walls provide urban living systems benefits through ecological patterns of concrete membranes or skins celebrating change over time.

4. Sponge Space
- explores how living systems can be implemented into public spaces to store and clean water like sponges. Incorporating water systems and plants also provides an opportunity to enhance the experiential qualities of spaces.