HOW VERTICAL ECOSYSTEMS CAN RESTORE URBAN AREAS
Updated: May 13
The city of Malaga is making efforts to meet the minimum recommended amount of green areas per inhabitant recommended by the European Union: 7.67 at present, as opposed to the recommended 15 m2. However, the expansion of these green areas is seriously limited by the water crisis. Andalusia is in the red zone of the most affected and vulnerable regions worldwide due to this problem. This situation is already posing challenges when it comes to supplying existing green areas. This is also one of the regions in Europe that will suffer the most from the effects of climate change. Therefore, climate adaptation, especially in urban areas, is imperative.
Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) have been identified by the European Union as one of the essential tools to build more sustainable and resilient societies. SBNs are those actions that rely on ecosystems and the services they provide to respond to various societal challenges such as climate change, food security or disaster risk.
But, how can we integrate nature into dense urban areas, where space is so limited, and do so without putting additional pressure on scarce water resources?
The project: Vertical Ecosystem
This innovation project, funded by the European Commission through the Metabuilding platform, consists of the construction of a 100 m2 hydroponic vertical garden on the facade of the Mariposa Hotel (Soho, Malaga) connected to a greywater treatment plant. This system will recover and treat the wastewater that the hotel discharges daily to the municipal sewage system and reuse it for the irrigation of the garden. The garden will integrate more than 3,000 plants of 17 different species carefully selected to adapt to their environment.
The project, led by the Biotonomy - Bioazul consortium, is also supported by Paisajismo Urbano and Viveros Guzmán and bears the stamp of the renowned local architect Antonio Díaz Casado de Amezúa. The selection of plants has been made by Ignacio Solano, a leading world expert in vertical gardening and mentor of the team.
The aim of this pioneering project is to generate a double impact: the integration of green areas in dense urban environments, and to do so without consuming additional water, by applying a circular economy approach. At the same time, the vertical garden will bring unquestionable improvements to the immediate urban environment; not only in terms of landscaping, but also producing enough oxygen for 100 people, helping regulate temperature and attenuate noise pollution from the street, increase of biodiversity, capture of 13 kg of dust and filtering of 65 tons of harmful gasses per year, among other benefits.
Furthermore, the project aims to become a visual landmark and reference in Soho, a central and cosmopolitan neighborhood, at the forefront of cultural entrepreneurship and new trends that are a model of development for the rest of the city. We hope that this intervention can serve as a reference for the development of future projects that contribute to creating a greener and healthier urban environment in the city of Malaga.
The technology: Paisajismo Urbano hydroponic system
Biotonomy uses the Paisajismo Urbano® hydroponic system in its projects. This innovative system has been used in the largest vertical gardening projects in the world (e.g. Santalaia Building, Bogota, 3,100 m2), as it allows to reproduce the ideal conditions for the creation of lush, diverse, beautiful and huge ecosystems. Its ultra-light structure makes it a perfect option for large-scale projects, as it does not overload the façade. This technology also includes elements for the automated and telematic control of the garden, minimizing water consumption, achieving simple maintenance and guaranteeing long-lasting and excellent results.