Expert Session: Greening the City

Change the world, by planting a seed

This Expert session was one of the four Open Sessions the New Europe City Makers Pre-Summit on the 4th and 5th of February at Pakhuis de Zwijger, Amsterdam.


Tanja van der Knoop knows what she wants and goes for it. Getting things done is her middle name. With a background in business and marketing, she came to Pakhuis de Zwijger during the Pre-Summit to talk about urban planting. With the idea that the world is much nicer, healthier and more beautiful when it is greener, especially in urban areas. The value of making things green is not only a climate profit; the air quality will rise; people behave kinder; but there is also financial interest.

Secret Village
In the Reguliersdwarsstraat in Amsterdam Tanja created a way to transform this urban area into a greener street. By planting plants, the street is cleaner and safer and is more attractive for pedestrians. “But what if people pee into these plants”, a person from the audiences asks. “Well, near a popular club in the Reguliersdwarsstraat where every weekend a big queue lines up, we decided to plant hop”, Tanja explains. “It’s a little circular economy joke”.

© Jitske Schols

Tanja gives an inspired speech about looking at things from a different perspective and about staying sincere. “If you look at other peoples interest, and if you are always sincere: everything is possible in a short period of time.” Tanja emphasizes on the importance of knowledge. “In case of the greening project many people think that climbing plants are damaging the houses, but that’s simple not true for all climbing plants” Tanja says. “Only when you have the knowledge about which plants will actually grow in this kind of environment and how to contain them, you can convince people.” Be sincere and have the knowledge and you will get things done!

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