Imagine climbing plants that help to cool the air in our cities! This is the solution launched by the French start-up Urban Canopee.
How to refresh our cities? How can we effectively absorb carbon dioxide when a large part of urbanised areas are dense city centres where there is no space to plant?
This is the challenge of the green street furniture imagined by Urban Canopee, a French start-up founded in Champs-sur-Marne, by a team of researchers from the Ecole Nationale des Ponts ParisTech, Élodie Grimoin, AgroParisTech engineer, and Hubert Michaudet, lecturer at the Ecole des Ponts.
What does Urban Canopee offer?
Urban Canopee has developed an innovative and sustainable solution to effectively fight climate change. The system, once deployed, makes it possible to form plant canopies that help to:
- Fight heat by deploying oases of freshness,
- Restore urban biodiversity,
- Provide many ecosystem services (climate regulation, pollination, etc.),
- Fight against air pollution,
- Improve the quality of life for citizens.
How does the Urban Canopee solution work?
The Urban Canopee technology brings together 3 essential elements: the Sensopee box, the “gridshell” structure and of course the plants!
Let’s start with the Sensopee box, a stand-alone, connected box integrated into the structure. The latter has on the one hand a water reserve of around 200 litres, and on the other hand, a substrate where vegetation grows. Thanks to Sensopee, watering is automatic and is activated by solar-powered sensors that also allow the analysis of the plant data such as soil temperature and humidity.
Attached to this box, we can find the Urban Canopee’s gridshell structure, which is modular, light and reversible, and on which a plant cover grows. These plants and the structure will allow the creation of shade areas, CO2 capture and water retention!
Already many projects to their credit!
The parisian start-up has already installed its solution in a large number of major French cities, such as Paris, Marseille, Reims and Toulouse!
One of its first projects was carried out in Rosny-sous-Bois in August 2019, where 5 Canopies where deployed on the roof of the DOMUS shopping centre. These were placed in view of a collaborative project with Peas and Love which sets up vegetable gardens directly in your neighbourhood, or, as here, directly on a roof. The Canopies “are designed to accomodate fruit vines and to recreate an optimal microclimate for urban agriculture”. They will also benefit the various visitors to the site by providing shade and improving air quality.
And at Inseetu, what do we think about it?
As we are currently witnessing a heat wave in this hot August that is affecting many European countries, the opinion about Urban Canopee can only be unanimous! In some places, the mercury exceeds 35°C, and it is especially in the cities where it is the least bearable.
In vegetated areas, we can easily lose 5 to 8 degrees. It is therefore absolutely necessary to reintroduce vegetation in our cities, and plant trees to create areas of shade and thus effectively fight against urban heat waves. But how can we plant and vegetate when everything around us in the city is concreted?
We are therefore convinced that Urban Canopee is the most suitable solution to air-condition our cities and thus improve the quality of life of city dwellers. There is no need to break the ground and destructure the site. Just come and place the Canopy!
Let’s not forget that in addition to deploying oases of freshness, the Canopy above all helps to reduce pollution and thus fight against global warming. Plants have the capacity to efficiently absorb CO2 and polluting gases. Therefore, all benefits for our planet in the long term!
Beyond this climatic aspect, the Canopies can be adapted and integrate various urban furniture such as benches, high bar tables and, why not in the future, lighting (powered by the solar panel) or even bicycle racks. The possibilities of declination are multiple and this will only reinforce the value proposition of Urban Canopee.
Urban Canopee is therefore, in our opinion, the perfect solution and we expect to see the Canopies blooming more and more in our urban public spaces in the years to come.