Soil, the foundation of life and cities

Beneath our feet, a world that is often overlooked plays a fundamental role in the health of our planet and the well-being of our communities: soil, the foundation of life and cities.

This complex and vital universe is a rich and little-known ecosystem, home to more than half of all terrestrial species. Scientists discover new species of organisms every year, and it is estimated that there are over a million individuals per gram of soil! Yet less than 1% of these micro-organisms have been identified, opening up vast prospects for research and potential applications, particularly in agriculture and medicine.

Soil plays a crucial role not only for biodiversity, but also for our survival, supporting 95% of our food production and acting as the planet’s largest carbon reservoir, surpassing the atmosphere and all the forests combined. It is also essential for regulating water, preventing floods and droughts. Despite its importance, we are losing fertile soil at an alarming rate.

CurieuCity invites you to delve deeper into these subjects – which we often only know about on the surface – and which reveal both the importance and the fragility of soil. Far from being merely inert surfaces on which we walk, soils are living, dynamic entities that are crucial to natural ecosystems and our urban environments. Awareness is needed to understand and protect these essential ecosystems which, although invisible, support life in the city in so many ways.

CurieuCity invites you to discover and reflect on the importance of soils through a range of activities, from educational walks to hands-on workshops and the use of scientific instruments.

On a walk with Super Terram & CiDéSol in Parc Ouest, for example, you can explore the composition and health of soils, learning techniques for analysing their nutrient and carbon content.

Super Terram takes us further with its soil chromatography, transforming scientific analyses into veritable works of art that reveal the biological diversity and vitality of urban soils. These captivating images allow us to visualise the biological balance and health of soils, underlining their importance to the urban environment.

The management of contaminated urban soils is also a crucial theme addressed by the CiDéSol project, which illustrates clean-up efforts using phytoremediation and mycoremediation. This initiative transforms soil decontamination by bioremediation into a proactive citizen action, showing us how living organisms can purify soils for safer and more sustainable urban agriculture.

Art enriches our understanding of soil through Marion Sehier’s installation “Les contours de terre”, which transforms soil imprints into sculptures. This artistic approach reveals the human impact on soils and stimulates us to think about the need to rethink our interactions with the natural environment.

Finally, the BC Materials workshop highlights the use of geosourced materials for sustainable urban construction. By transforming Brussels’ excavated earth into clay bricks, this workshop demonstrates the application of circular economy principles to construction, making the most of local resources and minimising waste.

Through CurieuCity, we discover that urban soils are not just supports, but vibrant ecosystems essential to the sustainability of our cities. By exploring their complexity and importance, the festival inspires action to preserve and revitalise our soils, contributing to more resilient and harmonious cities for future generations. Each activity encourages us to consider our role in protecting and enhancing the soil in our own environments, strengthening the link between local actions and global ecological challenges.

Discover with CurieuCity that urban soils are much more than the floor of our cities; they are vibrant ecosystems crucial to their sustainability. The festival encourages us to understand their complexity and importance, motivating us to take action to preserve them. Together, let’s work towards more resilient and harmonious cities, linking local initiatives to major ecological challenges.

Join us in transforming our urban future!