Sponge garden

The climate is changing: the rain is heavier and the dry periods between are lasting longer. How can we moderate these two extremes? A lot of rain water currently drains through sewers to prevent flooding. However, that does not always work and increases the problem of drought.

The municipality of Rotterdam is already tackling these problems by applying smart measures like water squares, swales (also known as wadis) and more open water. However, a lot still remains to be done; the city is predominantly paved and the greenery that has been planted is hardly suitable to mitigate the two extremes of rain and drought.

One way to deal with this; is to have our urban greenery function like a sponge. A sponge can moderate these extremes; it can absorb water quickly, hold it temporarily and gradually return the water to the subsoil.

We have created the Sponge Garden to investigate what this can look like in practice. Here we are testing new concepts for collecting, retaining and returning rainwater to the natural environment. For this, experiments are being carried out with soil compositions, planting types and sponge techniques.

We are monitoring the behaviour of the water for two years with the help of the Rotterdam Field Measurement Service so that we are able to apply the knowledge we learn in practice. Of course this is also simply a beautiful garden for you to experience and enjoy.

De Urbanisten started this unique experiment together with the Voedseltuin and the municipality of Rotterdam. The Sponge Garden has kindly been supported by the sponsors listed on the cover.

An explanatory flyer (PDF) can be found here.