Ströer and the city of Bonn have agreed to collaborate on research into innovative solutions for promoting biodiversity and combating climate change that are rooted in nature. The first collaborative project of the Smart City partnership is the Bad Godesberg Bahnhof/Löbestrasse bus stop, which has been planted with various species of sedum. Ashok Sridharan, the Mayor of Bonn, and Alexander Stotz, CEO of Ströer Media Deutschland, joined SWB Bus und Bahn director Anja Wenmakers at a press event to introduce the project and the partnership.
The partnership ties in with the Smart City process. Mayor Sridharan: “Smart Cities are undergoing a process of digital transformation. But this is not an end in itself: it enables sustainable urban development with a focus on peoples’ needs.” Bonn’s sustainability strategy and its resolutions on the climate emergency and on becoming carbon neutral by 2035 are examples of the ways in which Bonn can develop in the future as a Smart City with a high quality of life. “The partnership with Ströer will allow Bonn to test innovative infrastructure solutions that combine biodiversity, sustainability, and digitalization, and make the city even more diverse, greener, and a better place to live,” Sridharan adds.
To underline their interest in collaborating, Mayor Sridharan and Alexander Stotz signed a letter of intent. The partnership envisages the trialing of a wide range of innovative projects based on natural processes, from the greening of outdoor advertising columns to moss-covered information boards and insect-friendly bus shelters.
“The importance of street furniture in public spaces will continue to grow at pace in the coming years. Street furniture will increasingly become part of an urban system: the Smart City. We want to support this process as sustainably as possible. As a long-standing partner of municipal authorities, we make an important contribution to urban communication infrastructure through our digital advertising media. Our objective is to support Bonn with its ongoing transformation into a Smart City by providing sustainable digital infrastructure solutions, and to present the city as a model for others to emulate,” says Alexander Stotz, CEO of Ströer Media Deutschland GmbH.
Pilot project: a ‘green’ bus shelter
The first joint project is the greening of a bus shelter at Bad Godesberg train station. The roof of the shelter has been fitted with a foam drainage mat made of recycled material and a layer of pumice stone substrate, topped with twelve different types of sedum plant.
Sedum are succulents and more commonly known as stonecrops. Their thick leaves store water and cool the air by evaporation. The various species bloom at different times of the year, so the roof provides food for insects even into late autumn.
The roof of the bus shelter in Bad Godesberg is split into five areas, each of which is capable of holding around 60 liters of water, of which 50 to 70 percent is returned to the natural water cycle through evaporation. Despite the amount of water they can store, the planted roofs remain relatively light-weight when fully saturated, weighing in at around 50kg per square meter.
Working with the municipal utility company over the past few months, Ströer looked into which of the 420 passenger shelters in the Bonn area would be suitable for greening. The structural conditions were the most important factor, and 19 existing shelters met the criteria. Ströer is funding the first shelter as a pilot project. The city, the municipal utility company, passengers, and Ströer can now get to know the product. Further installations will be considered at the end of the project.
Anja Wenmakers, a director at SWB Bus und Bahn: “The greening of shelters helps to protect the local environment. The plants not only serve as a food source for insects, they also filter the air, absorb fine dust, and store water. They are sustainable and very easy to look after. On top of that, they provide cool shelter for our passengers in the summertime and have a positive impact on the microclimate. Bus shelters with plants on them add color to the urban landscape and are sure to be received positively. They also support biodiversity and help to raise awareness among Bonn’s residents of the need for environmental protection.”
Mayor Sridharan emphasized that the project’s key added value lies in the publicity it generates: “The city wants to set an example and show that the greening of even relatively small areas can help to improve the environment.” The green roofs should be viewed as ‘stepping stones’ of an urban biotope network that connects habitats for insects and other species, rather than viewing them in isolation. Residents who are keen to help promote biodiversity in the city by greening a roof or a facade will in future be able to apply for funding and obtain advice from the municipal authority. The city has recently agreed a funding program to this end which is expected to launch in mid-2021.
Source: The press office of the Mayor of Bonn / Credits: Stadtwerke Bonn/Martin Magunia