You may have already met him on Osdorpplein. A skeleton of wooden posts that is full of large planters and lots of greenery. On the sign of the municipality you can read that it is a climate cube. What exactly does that mean?
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Text and photos: Tara Ghafor.
In the Netherlands we also have to deal with extreme weather conditions more often, as can be read on the website from Amsterdam Rainproof. This results in very hot summer days with drought and heavy rain showers that sometimes even cause flooding. In August 2019, therefore, at the initiative of the municipality of Amsterdam and Amsterdam Rainproof, the Climate Cube was placed on Osdorpplein. You can find the Climate Cube at the entrance of the OBA and the Meervaart.
A piece of green in the city
The Climate Cube is a green spot between all the shops on the square. It cools the shoppers when the temperature rises very high on summer days. When it rains, you will find shelter from the rain. The planters in the cube collect rainwater from the roof of Theater de Meervaart. Although the trays retain this water, the plants do not have enough water in times of insufficient water. When the rainwater is obtained, it also helps in avoiding flooding in extreme rainfall.
According to the initiators, the greenery also contributes to the biodiversity in the city and attracts animals and insects. Plants evaporate water, sweet air becomes fresher, cleaner and less dry.
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A tool against heat stress
“The plan was to keep the cube on Osdorpplein for about two years, but in the autumn of 2021 the Kaskantine refurbished the climate cube on behalf of the City District. The plants have been pruned, plants have been added where necessary and the bench has been refurbished,” says a representative of Amsterdam Rainproof.
The Climate Cube is part of an umbrella project called ‘Cool Towns’. This is an initiative of, among others, the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) to combat heat problems and the heat stress that arises. The AUAS is conducting research into how the Climate Cube helps to reduce heat stress. This study will run until October 2022.
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The future of building
“Furthermore, the municipality of Amsterdam is currently preparing the opening of greening initiatives at Osdorpplein, which will probably take place in July. The climate cube is a good example of this. This shows people what climate-adaptive building looks like and how it can offer us protection against heat, drought and heavy rain,” said the representative of Amsterdam Rainproof.
Are you ever near Osdorpplein? Then visit this special cube and enjoy the greenery. Tip: across the street is a free herb garden, where you can pick some herbs for your evening meal!
The Climate Cube is an initiative of the Municipality of Amsterdam, Theater de Meervaart, Amsterdam Rainproof, NL Greenlabel and Van der Tol Hoveniers.