The Strijp-S Gardenscrapers
Subtitle: Window gardening as a communal action for cooling down Strijp-S
A series of customized window urban gardening solutions for existing highrises in Strijp S, with the end goal of changing most highrises into affordable tree- and gardenscrapers, and turning Strijp-S into a community of skilled urban gardeners.
Last year, the heat island effect turned stony Eindhoven into the hottest city in the Netherlands, and the hottest within Eindhoven was Strijp-S. There is no real possibility to cool the area down by planting green in the ground. One, the soil there is still severely polluted. Two, urban space in Strijp-S is overproduced and protected from demolition for its industrial heritage. This is why changing existing highrises into tree- and gardenscrapers is the most optimal solution to cool Strijp-S down.
There’s also no neighbourhood of treescrapers in existence in the world as of yet. Acros, Bosco Verticale or Trudo didn’t spark off greenification in their vicinity.: there were no vacant building sites around them to begin with. As such, these treescrapers have no power to cool down the neighbourhood on their own. But to be offered en masse, they’d need to be affordable. Customized window gardening solutions for existing highrises are a more affordable solution and could lead to a green transformation of the entire neighbourhood.
Developers of treescrapers (such as Bosco Verticale or Trudo Toren) completely separated gardening from the tenants. In Trudo Toren, there is a self-watering system, plants were chosen for their low maintenance demands and a 5-year contract was signed with professional gardeners. The residents reported to be relieved that they don’t need to garden.
With Gardenscrapers, gardening is a duty shared between the landlord and the tenants. Gardenscrapers would offer social or otherwise affordable housing in Strijp-S specifically to people with gardening skills (urban gardeners), contractually obliging them to pay a discounted rent and to put in a minimal number of gardening hours per week. Tenants caring for plants is an essential condition of the rent agreement. If the city connects gardening skills with access to affordable housing, it will give a major boost to young people who will be supermotivated to learn the forgotten gardening skills – skills that may prove lifesaving in the near future.
Greenscrapers Urban Gardening Centre would be established on location in Strijp-S. This is where the tenants would get, for free, the planting material. Species would be from the local Eindhoven biotope, including endangered local species from the Red List. The centre would also offer free urban gardening courses, and it would serve as a leading platform for urban and vertical gardening, as well as for green art and design, in Eindhoven and Brabant.