What does climate change mean for our cities and the people who live in them? Weather phenomena such as torrential rain or extreme heat are increasing. Wherever roads are asphalted and plots of land are developed, water is unable to find natural drainage routes. In heavy rain, drainage systems reach capacity with increased frequency and then overflow. And on hot summer days the air quality in the city becomes unbearable. What is to be done? Berlin’s Schumacher Quartier is taking a different approach. The residential buildings and open spaces on the grounds of the decommissioned Tegel Airport are being planned on the sponge city model. The Quartier is becoming Berlin’s reference project for urban development that is adapted to the climate and sensitive to its water needs.
A sponge city retains rainwater within the residential estate. During hot spells it evaporates and thereby cools the residential district without additional energy expenditure. Surplus water seeps slowly into the groundwater instead of being drained off by the sewage system. Keeping rainwater in the Quartier brings several advantages: