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The new water bench in Lille, France, Source: Association St. Michel en transition

This bench stores water and irrigates plants while you rest

This bench stores water and irrigates plants while you rest

The innovative project received funding from the participatory budget in Lille, France

Cities have long ago discovered the hidden power of urban furniture. In fact, they have shown that even something as simple as a bench can serve multiple innovative functions.

For example, we've already reported on smart benches being used to charge your phone, or to tackle loneliness amid the coronavirus pandemic. Benches can also tell the stories of the cities, helping locals and tourists discover these places in unusual ways. Or, they can get people acquainted with high-quality literature or movies.

The latest addition to the “power of the bench” list comes from Lille, France. Thanks to a new creative project, a local bench will be able to … collect and store rainwater and irrigate plants. Something particularly useful, in the face of climate changes leading to extreme weather adverse effects such as droughts or heavy rainfalls.

A bench can be good for you and for the environment 

The bench, now located in front of the Pasteur School, at the Philippe Lebon Square of Lille, collects water through its covering, which will then be used to plant nearby gardens. Thanks to this bench directly connected to the school gutter, the water reserve builds up on its own.

Then, when the time is right, the inhabitants of the district, the students or the members of the association can fill the watering can or the bucket to water the vegetable gardens or the neighbouring plants. All this, while they rest on the bench, awaiting for their next class to start.

The bench is the initiative of the St Michel en transition association, conceived by designers Simon Carrez and Clément Lascombes, realised by Bois & Loisirs.

It has been funded under the participatory budget of Lille (a democratic instrument in which citizens can put forward projects to be funded by the city budget and have their say on the ones to get public money) and will be tested for 8 months. The results from the test will be summarised in a technical file, which will be submitted to city authorities with the perspective of extending its test for another 8 months.

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