Modern design strategies for integrating new urban ecosystems with housing architecture in Antwerp as an example of the aspiration to achieve climate neutrality

Ewa Cisek



The article discusses the issues of deliberate design strategies aimed at reducing the effect of the urban heat island and improving the quality of air in the city, which have been implemented in recent years in Antwerp, Belgium. Literature studies and case studies (theory and practice analysis) supported by the in situ method, i.e. local visits in the field became our workshop method. The criterion for collecting data, systematization of issues and their synthesis depended on the interdisciplinary approach to the subject and the openness of ideas. The implementation of green areas in the form of wild ecosystems on composite roofs and terraces of housing complexes (e.g. Palazzo Verde in Antwerp, architect Stefano Boeri, implementation in 2018) and ecological education parks which are established in urban revitalized areas (e.g. Hobokense in Antwerp along with housing estates of the Polderstadt and Groen Zuid, architect Binst Architects, implementation in 2020), is part of actions aimed at increasing the quality porosity of the urban tissue and thus the biologically active area and effective rainwater retention. These new urban ecosystems, which are based on native species of plants and new ones coexisting with them in full synergy, are conducive to increasing local biodiversity, eco education of inhabitants and creating architecture as a form of art combined with biology. The location of housing eco-architecture along with urban crops areas on the border of new urban eco ecosystems and the possibility of breeding and grazing of small animals or organizing bees apiaries supports the trend for maintaining agricultural functions in cities and small gastronomy which is oriented to the promotion of local products. These strategies are part of the city pro-climate policy as effective grassroots actions aimed at obtaining the climate neutrality of our planet.

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