Nature on your roof


Green Holistic System: Making resilient cities

Cities are increasingly facing challenges that put pressure on sustainability and liveability, such as water and food shortages, a decline in natural habitats, and heat stress to name a few.

The Green Holistic System (GHS) is aimed at increasing cities’ resilience in the face of these challenges. The GHS 2.0 project focuses on sustainable water management and biodiversity as well as food security and achieving climate goals in urban areas.

GHS combines a number of smart technologies on building rooftops to make cities more environmentally friendly and sustainable. From October 2023 experiments with this circular system modelled on nature will be carried out at the Marineterrein too.

Sustainable goals

The United Nations have formulated 17 Sustainable Development

Goals that will improve sustainability in the world. Together the SDGs will end poverty, inequality, injustice and climate change. GHS supports the following selection of SDGs in the ways stated below.

  1. SDG 6 – Clean water and sanitation, sustainable management of water
    GHS will collect rainwater and use excess water for irrigation.
  2. SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
    Building green roofs and green spaces is good for biodiversity, sustainability and the living environment.
  3. SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production
    Circular technology conserves natural sources of water.
  4. SDG 13 – Climate action
    The thermal insulation and water management systems provided by green roofs reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Experimenting with green roofs and water management

As part of the project, a prototype of a green roof was constructed that includes more than 40 indigenous plant species. The plants can be seen from the street, but can still grow as nature intended.

The roof is constructed so that it provides better insulation for the building below, gives biodiversity a helping hand, retains rainwater, and drains excess water to be stored for reuse.

GHS on every rooftop

The scalability is probably one of the most innovative characteristics of GHS. Because the system is so multi-faceted, it can easily be built to order. It fits almost any building—a practical feature that makes GHS widely applicable.

Follow-up steps

GHS is working with the AMS Institute to build a second prototype of a green roof. Their aim is to include a feature that can remove contaminants from the wastewater.

In addition, this international team of experts also contributes to other projects, for instance, the AquaConnect experiment, which is building smart solutions for areas affected by water shortages.

More about Green Holistic System

  1. AMS Institute

    The AMS Institute was founded in 2014 as a collaboration between Wageningen University and Research, Delft University of Technology, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. The Institute currently oversees more than 80 research projects,...

  2. Open Call: Dobbernatuur

    Your piece of floating nature in the heart of Amsterdam! Do you have a brilliant and super green idea for floating nature in the inner harbour of the Marineterrein?