Why do ditches, canals and canals grow all green with duckweed, but the city remains barren and gray?

Asking this question is not crazy either. Petrification in the Netherlands is significant: it is even estimated that about 50% of all gardens in the Netherlands are tiled (Naturalis Biodiversity Center, 2019). But the effect of petrification on our living environment is often underestimated. For example, tiling contributes to flooding, heat stress (in cities) and the loss of biodiversity. We find the latter especially important: the economic importance of biodiversity is often underplayed, while 510 billion of Dutch-derived investments depend on intact ecosystems (DNB, 2019).

We thought “this must and can be done differently”…

If duckweed is already removed by municipalities and water boards when it causes a nuisance, why is it only composted or fermented? If ditches and canals are completely covered in duckweed because of excess nitrogen, why aren't we removing the duckweed? Do you also see opportunities to collaborate on duckweed? Please contact us.

Our solution: The Kroostegel

With Flip the City we are casting awareness of the importance of biodiversity & greening in the form of a physical consumer product developed from duckweed. We think that product can make the difference: in this way we can make Dutch cities play a new role in the field of biodiversity.

🌿 What is a kroostegel?

Flip the City creates kroostegels: biodegradable sidewalk tiles, with the same dimensions (30 x 30 x 4 cm) as normal tiles, with the goal of eventually being able to replace them.

As the name implies, our tiles consist of duckweed, an explosively growing water plant that is an increasing nuisance due to rising temperatures and is harmful to aquatic life. In addition, we integrate into our tile a mix of specially selected seeds of plants and flowers that promote native biodiversity.

Doing everything local

In addition, the making of our tiles is simple, which we want to have realized by people with a distance to the labor market in work/learning companies. This also forms our approach: to develop local greenhouse tiles by harvesting locally in order to ultimately gain local biodiversity. Besides the fact that public bodies contribute to the greening of cities, we think that awareness and knowledge about what is really nature are bigger obstacles.

🐌Democratic green

With our kroostegels, we give everyone, business or resident, the chance to grow their own circular and biodiverse piece of greenery in petrified cities. This way we realize biodiversity in a circular, sustainable and educationally responsible way.

Creating more value

Flip the City does not believe in products with single-sided consumption value. The new generation of circular products, including our kroostegel, create different values for all stakeholders at every stage, from production to consumption.

☔ What does the kroostegel make possible?

Our kroostegel comes from a design method for multiple value creation. The following are some of these values. If you are interested in our approach or want to know more about these values, please feel free to contact us at support@letsflipthecity.nl

🐝 Improving biodiversity

Every city has its own ecosystem. Gray urban areas primarily attract urban pigeons, crow flies and gulls. The bio-diverse native flowers that emerge from the crosstalk attract butterflies, bees and other insects, which further promote the spread of bio-diverse greenery.

☔ Improving water management

Because of all the gray paving, water hardly gets a chance to sink into the soil. The crown tile serves as a sponge; rainwater can be absorbed by the flowers and it can infiltrate the soil freely.

🌡️ Improving heat dissipation

Grey urban areas retain much more heat than green rural areas. Climate change increases the likelihood of heat waves, something that threatens the health of vulnerable groups. The flowers that emerge from the kroostegel can help lower the temperature in a city by evaporating water.

🐟 Promote water quality

A thick layer of duckweed stifles aquatic life and creates odor problems. Currently, the duckweed is removed from the water at a certain coverage rate. If the duckweed will be removed more frequently to serve as a raw material for the duckweed tile, water quality will continue to improve.

🔁 Promote circular economy

The Netherlands wants to be a circular economy by 2050. This is an economy without waste, where everything runs on reusable raw materials. Since the kroostegel is made from a green waste stream, it thus fits well into this vision of the future

🤝 Promote local/social economy

Locally, duckweed can be removed and locally it can also be processed into duckweed tiles. We are currently looking for opportunities to set up modular production areas that are socially responsible and socially sustainable (e.g. social workplaces). This approach makes the croost tile a truly local and social product.

📗 Leren over biodiversiteit

Wist je dat Komkommerkruid plaagdieren weghoudt bij omringende planten, heel veel bijen en vlinders aantrekt, maar ook boordevol vitamine C zit en geschikt is voor consumptie? Met onze kroostegels willen we kennis over biodiversiteit toegangelijker, maar ook leuker maken door dit in onze gebruikerservaring te gieten.

🌳 Koolstofvastlegging

Investeer in de bodem koolstofbalans. Onder de juiste omstandigheden kan eendenkroos bijna 100x zoveel koolstofdioxide per opslaan (per dag!) in vergelijking met wat een natuurlijk bos kan in hetzelfde oppervlakte (acre/day).

🚜 Lokalere nutrientenkringloop

De huidige stikstofdepositie (ha/j) bedraagt zo'n 21 kg stikstof, waar de gunstige waarde zo'n 14 kg bedraagt (WUR). Door overmatig eendenkroos te verwijderen uit de natuur, dragen we positief bij aan het verminderen van de stikstofdepositie. Eendenkroos is daarin een zeer efficiënte filter. Het kan per hectare 1.500 kg stikstof opnemen en zo verwijderen!

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