Ignition project

An experimental rain garden at the University of Salford aims to make Salford greener and cleaner,

The Rain Garden, a Nature-Based Solutions Living Lab at the University of Salford, has nearly been completed.

Rain Gardens are sustainable drainage systems (SuDs) blanketed by green vegetation and wildlife.

They are mainly used in urban areas to manage rain and prevent floods whilst promoting biodiversity in the area.

It aims to improve the wellbeing of the local community and strengthen the understanding of green infrastructure and ecosystems.

It was designed and constructed as part of a €4.5 million Urban Innovation Actions IGNITION Project. It comprises of local government, universities, businesses, and utility companies.

“Everyone understands the benefits green infrastructure will bring,” says professor Hisham Elkadi, principal Investigator of the project.

“It removes pollution from the air and improves mental health. We could see this during lockdown when the air felt cleaner and more people were exercising outside,”

“We are launching a soft launch this October which should lead to a much bigger launch in April next year for Phase 2. It will hopefully be used as example in the International Global Conference in Glasgow next year, also known as COP26.”

Nature Based Solutions research for the Living Lab was conducted by the University of Salford’s Urban Futures Research Group.

The IGNITION project also aims to show green infrastructure is financially feasible, and to inspire other communities to use green ecosystems.

Mr Elkadi continued: “The project also needs to be an attractive business model for investors. Having an integrated ecosystem can be much more efficient to run, rather than using separate entities. That way water does not get overused and you can avoid flooding.

“We also want to educate visitors about how green infrastructure works as well why it is important”. Tools will be implemented to inform visitors about green technology. They are expecting visitors from schools and neighbouring communities.

Mr Elkadi added: “The rain garden will the top technology in the world which are is only used in two football pitches, including Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur.”

Phase 2 is expected to begin next year which will add a green wall to the campus.

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