Berlin pursues 'sponge city' plan to deal with climate change

Municipal officials seek to use rain water to cool the city naturally by imitating the natural water cycle.

    2019/03/11

NSFW    BERLIN — As heatwaves and urban flooding become increasingly common across northern Europe, Berlin's local government is pursuing a "sponge city" approach to address the effects of climate change.

According to a report by Deutsche Welle, municipal officials are taking steps to transform Berlin into an urban sponge to allow nature itself to help cool temperatures and reduce runoff from storms.

Moss and grass are being planted on rooftops to absorb rainwater. Buildings are being painted in light colors to reflect heat instead of absorbing it.

Carlo Becker, the architect of Berlin's Sponge City strategy, explained to Bloomberg that the idea is to use rain water to cool the city naturally by imitating the natural water cycle.

The city also plans to add more green spaces and urban wetlands to efficiently absorb rain water.

Heike Stock, the official in charge of managing the program, told Deutsche Welle the idea of the urban sponge is to "avoid sealing up too much of the ground surface with concrete or tarmac" and to allow water to be absorbed into the ground through permeable surfaces.
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