This Is the first of a short series of stories where we profile some of the environmental and design innovations of the Dutch city of Utrecht.
Utrecht is the fourth-largest city in the Netherlands. It is located in the centre of the country, a bit like Coventry. It has a population of 347,574 compared to Coventry’s population 360,100.
In the past few years, the city has been committed to improve its urban biodiversity and sustainability with projects such as a vertical forest, an energy-neutral hockey clubhouse and a 110-meter-long bicycle bridge. Another project is the new central railway station which accommodates a staggering 12,500 bikes within an underground bicycle garage; the three story cycle parking facility has been constructed with the notion of promoting Utrecht as a sustainable city. If they can do it why can’t Coventry which is the same size and has a similar central location?
But first the bees!
358 bee species live in the Netherlands according to statistics, but more than half of them are on the Dutch endangered species list. To fight the bee population decline, 316 bus stops have been re-designed as Bee Stops! These green hubs are essentially bus stops with grass and wildflowers on the roof that aim to encourage pollination. The idea is to attract the threatened insects as well as capturing fine dust and storing rainwater. The project was created by the Utrecht Council, with support from the city’s biodiversity team.
Mainly composed of sedum plants, the green roofs require little water and maintenance to survive. As for the human-cantered design, the bus stops feature energy-efficient LED lights powered by windmills. The roofs are looked after by workers who drive around in electric vehicles. Utrecht also runs a scheme which allows residents to apply for funding to transform their own roofs into green roofs.
More stories about Utrecht’s journey to sustainability in future news stories. Come back soon!