Rain-Proof Tiles Keep Copenhagen’s Sidewalks Dry

Flood Tiles

With the increasing intensity of rainfall, streets, sidewalks, and parking lots need to be changed for cities to be able to live with water.

Due to of higher rainfall intensity, sewer systems in cities are quickly reaching capacity causing flooding. Impervious surfaces do not infiltrate water back into the ground, but instead direct water into sewers. Copenhagen is testing the capabilities of water-friendly surfaces to complement existing sewer systems while creating attractive public spaces.

TREDJE NATUR has started a pilot in front of a café in the Danish capital to demonstrate the scalability and utility of rain-proof tiles. The fifty-metre stretch of modular tiles mitigates heavy rainfall and adds greenery to the streetscape in the form of gardens. Before infiltrating into the ground, water is cleaned through the gardens. Excess water is stored underneath the sidewalk for retention and runoff delay purposes to complement the city’s sewer system in intense rainfall events.

Installing these tiles cause no extra disturbance as they can be placed at the same time as pipe replacement or restoration. Since fighting water has proven to be the wrong approach to sea level rise and intense rainfall, we have to adapt our cities to coexist with such an important natural element.