We are living in an ever-increasing urbanised world. According to the United Nations, over half of the world’s 7 billion people currently lives in cities and by 2050, 75% of us will call a city home. Such exponential growth places severe strain on our resources and planning capabilities. It calls for ingenuous ideas and designs to allow our love of urban living, which has stayed largely the same since ancient times, to be sustained into the future.
Urbanisation has allowed people to come together and work together. While cities incubate talent and fuel innovation, they also allow for rapid development that is often unsustainable and the cause of a myriad of environmental problems. A widespread issue that often goes unnoticed is the growth of impervious surfaces like concrete and asphalt, which essentially seal the soil surface and stop rainwater from infiltrating the natural groundwater system. Since the water has no where else to go, it runs into our drains and out into our water bodies, carrying the city’s pollutants with it. Impervious surfaces also collect solar heat causing the urban ‘heat island’ effect, which raises air temperatures in cities and increases energy consumption in surrounding buildings. Not only that, they also deprive tree roots of air, making it harder for urban planners to incorporate urban parks and create those tree-lined shady streets we all love.
In search of a unique and creative sustainable design to help combat this urban problem, we came across German designer Peter Kraft from Studio Eich and his Terra Verde idea. In collaboration with fellow designers Jochen Maria Weber, Timo Rohring and Moritz Fuhrman, Terra Verde showcases ceramics as the future pavement of the city. The design is largely made up of porous ceramic tiles that incorporate patches of vegetation to filtrate pollutants before the water reaches the soil. Their design works to provide a more sustainable option to impervious surfaces and help to combat the endless environmental problems they create. Watch their short video here to learn more and check out Kraft’s website for other modernistic designs.