Increasing urban green in Thessaloniki

A vertical garden, with over 800 pots and four kinds of plants watered by a rainwater collection system, changed the landscape in the second biggest city of Greece!

Thessaloniki sets a new paradigm of green-blue infrastructure to increase urban sustainability, with the first green wall in a public building in Greece. Since August 2018, the Urban Environment Management Building of Thessaloniki, has become greener. In line with the City’s resilience strategy, aiming at making the city more sustainable and resistant to climate change impacts, GWP-Med designed the city’s first green wall coupled with a rainwater harvesting system.  A vertical garden, with over 800 pots and four kinds of plants watered by a rainwater collected at the rooftop, came to upgrade the look of 18 Kleanthous Street.

In June 2017, GWP-Med and the Municipality of Thessaloniki signed an MOU under the framework of the Non Conventional Water Resources Progamme in Greece to jointly implement projects and actions that promote integrated water management. The Green Wall is the first demonstration project that takes place in the framework of this collaboration Thessaloniki is the first city to be included in the Programme.

Green walls are an international trend in urban development. They present an opportunity to increase green spaces, especially in densely built cities. Thus, vertical gardens add more green to the urban landscape. At the same time, vertical planting in buildings improves their aesthetics, energy efficiency and the microclimate of the area, with a direct impact on citizens’ well-being.

Aiming to demonstrate sustainable practices that promote integrated urban water management, the innovation of this project lies in the fact that the green wall is combined with a rainwater collection system from which it is irrigated. Thanks to the modern system installed, rainwater is collected on the roof of the building, stored in a tank and then pumped into the automatic irrigation system, hence saving drinking water as well as preventing street flooding. The use of non conventional water resources, such as rainwater,  can offer sustainable and cost-effective solutions to increase available water resources and contribute to climate change adaptation, particularly in the urban environment.

The installation of the vertical garden and rainwater collection system was implemented in the frame of the Non Conventional Water Resources Progamme in Greece, which has been implemented since 2008 by Global Water Partnership - Mediterranean (GWP-Med) in partnership with the “Mission Water” Environmental Programme of the Coca-Cola System in Greece (Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company and Coca-Cola Hellas), and local authorities, with the financial support of the Coca-Cola Foundation.

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