Implementing nature-based solutions in Valencia
Under the GrowGreen project, the city of Valencia has completed five nature-based solutions demonstration projects: a vertical ecosystem, a green roof, Benicalap Green Space, a sustainable forest, and a green-blue corridor.
In November 2019, the construction of the vertical ecosystem installed at CEIP Ciutat Artista Faller was finished.
This vertical ecosystem, which reuses greywater, acts as a barrier to direct solar radiation and maintains a greywater treatment system. The garden allows the reuse of this water, which is used to irrigate the school garden and reduces energy consumption in a classroom thanks to this naturalised wall.
There are many benefits to this vertical ecosystem. These include energy savings, improved water quality, thermal comfort due to the insulation produced by the vegetation and the integration of nature into the city. In addition, the garden captures CO2, improving air quality.
The 345 m² green roof was completed in June 2020. Since then, plants are growing, covering the entire surface and improving the thermal insulation of the roof. It was installed at the Benicalap Municipal Activity Centre for the Elderly, replacing the previous 5 cm of gravel.
The green roof improves the insulation of the building, favouring thermal comfort, reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
The planted vegetation withstands periods of drought and requires minimal maintenance. In addition, it does not exceed 35ºC in summer, as opposed to the 45-50ºC that the roof with gravel could previously reach, causing the heat to be maintained for much longer.
It is important to mention the construction scheme of the green roof made up of sedum-type vegetation on a mineral substrate which, in turn, rests on a filtering layer, a drainage and water retention layer and a protection and retention layer, which allow the humidification of the topsoil, the oxygenation of the substrate and the collection of excess water. All of this is laid on a waterproofing and anti-root membrane.
BENICALAP GREEN SPACE
The Green Space is the result of the Collaborative Green Initiatives Competition in which five projects were chosen for development.
Espai Verd Benicalap is a space for urban vegetable gardens and a syntrophic forest of fruit trees that has changed the image and uses of an old, disused plot of land that was ceded by Valencia City Council to carry out this citizen project. The second of the winning projects of the competition, which occupies the same green space, is the Centre Cívic Verd.
Both projects are the response to the express request of some associations to have a nucleus of activity in the area, favouring coexistence and interaction between its inhabitants, open and accessible to host different neighbourhood proposals. The result is this green space with an urban vegetable garden, an edible forest and a civic centre.
The project seeks to revitalise the social fabric of the neighbourhood by fostering links with the garden through learning processes about the environment and sustainability. It is a space for the associations and educational centres of the Benicalap neighbourhood, each association has a 5×5 metre garden, it is governed by the assembly and all the people belonging to the associations use the space freely. Workshops and activities open to the public are programmed.
The green civic centre is a space where assemblies, activities, workshops, meetings can be held. It consists of a pergola with an open space to host the different activities, a storage area for tools for the gardens, a solar kitchen and a solar panel roof to generate electricity for the different activities. It is a set of conscious and sustainable practices. The Green Civic Centre has been conceived and designed from the use of recycled or waste material given by some companies or leftover from the demolition of some constructions. In addition, it has been built in a participatory way with the neighbours using simple techniques and accessible to the general population in construction days held on weekends. It is estimated that more than 150 people have been involved in the construction.