Creative Urban Agriculture on NYC rooftops

The rooftop of the Metro Baptist Church in Hell’s Kitchen has just celebrated it’s first harvest of fruits and vegetables, using kiddie pools as an innovative means to pursue urban agriculture in New York City.

For more information check out Inhabitat New York City’s article.

Greenbuild 2011 Toronto includes health and green building research

Over 23,000 people attended Greenbuild this year in Toronto, the first time the U.S. Green Building Council’s annual conference and tradeshow took place outside of the US. After long discussions with the USGBC, this year also marked the first time there was a dedicated research track that included research and talks on the link between green buildings and health. With Whitney Grey PhD and Judith Heerwagen PhD, I presented new research on green roofs, health, well-being, and concentration. For those that missed the conference, click here to find out about obtaining the proceedings and viewing the program.

Grow West Green Roof Symposium, June 16th, Denver Colorado

Recently I was invited to speak with four other leading green roof practitioners and researchers at Grow West’s annual Green Roof Symposium. The symposium is a great place to hear leading green roof experts and interact with researchers, practitioners, and industry. Other speakers included:

Dusty Gedge, President, European Federation of Green Roof Associations

Paul Kephart, Rana Creek

Mark Simmons, Director Research and Consulting of the LadyBird Johnson Wildflower Center

Manfred Kohler, President, World Green Infrastructure Network, Professor at Hochschule Neubrandenburg, Lehre und Forschung at Hochschule Neubrandenburg.

For more information on the symposium click here. For more information about Grow West click here.

Photo credit: Karla Dakin

Cities Alive Green Roof Conference

Vancouver Convention Centre green roof

The Cities Alive conference in Vancouver this past December was a huge success. At this conference I presented some findings from my research on health and green buildings, namely the impact of visual access to green roofs and concentration. The paper forms part of the proceedings and will be available here. The website for the conference is here.

Green Roofs and Agriculture

There has been increasing discussion in some cities about the possibilities for urban agriculture on green roofs. Toronto, Vancouver, New York and Chicago all have food-producing green roofs, and London is starting two pilot projects.  You can find out more about these roofs here.

Productive restaurant rooftop in Chicago- Uncommon Ground

Green roofs and mental health

Our Green Home recently published a short article in which I discuss some of the results of my doctoral research on the relationship between green roofs and mental health. The article also discussed some aesthetic considerations for those considering green roof design and mental health. For the article click here.



Research on perceptions of green roofs increasing

There is increasing interest in understanding people’s perceptions and awareness of green roofs as the social-psychological benefits are beginning to be explored. Here are some recent articles on perceptions of green roofs for those interested in learning more.

Calkins, M. (2005) Strategy use and challenges of ecological design in landscape architecture. Landscape and Urban Planning, 73, 29-48.

Eisenman, T. (2004) Chicago’s Green Crown. Landscape Architecture, 93, 106-113.

Kuper, R. (2009) What’s up? Examining the awareness of green roofs in suburbia. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 64, 145A-149A.

Lee, H. & H. Koshimiz. 2004. Research on the scenic meaning of rooftop greening with semantic differential measure and join-count statistics. In Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities, 1-12. Boston: Green Roofs for Healthy Cities.

Smith, C. & M. Boyer (2007) Who wants to live with a living roof? . Green Places, October, 24-27.

White, E. 2008. Greenery on Residential Buildings: Its ability to increase preference, beauty, restoration, and positive affective quality In Psychology, 118. Surrey: University of Surrey.

Wong, N. H., S. J. Wong, G. T. Lim, C. L. Ong & A. Sia (2005) Perception study of building professionals on the issues of green roof development in Singapore. Architectural Science Review, 48, 205-214.

Yuen, B. & W. N. Hien (2005) Resident perceptions and expectations of rooftop gardens in Singapore. Landscape and Urban Planning, 73, 263-276.

Other researchers interested in this topic include Kate Lee, from the University of Melbourne.

Green City initiatives increasingly common; showcased in World Health Day

On April 7th the the World Health Organizations’ World Health Day will focus on urbanization and health. The campaign encourages cities to “open public spaces to health,” such as clean up or urban park activities. Leading examples from cities across the world will be featured in their “1000 cities- 1000 lives” campaign, and cities can sign up on the World Health Organization website.

Many U.S. cities are already embarking on campaigns to make their cities greener, from vegetated roofs to bike sharing campaigns and composting. Montreal, Paris, and Washington, DC are some of the most recent cities to implement a bike-sharing program.

Many cities are also implementing composting, with one of the newest converts being San FranciscoToronto has also had enormous success with its green bin program.

For those interested in getting an overview of green city initiatives, they can check out Planet Green’s “Green City Guide.”

For more information check out an excellent website: Finding Dulcinea.

New green roof on subway station in Toronto

In May 2009 Toronto became the first city in North America to require green roofs on all major new developments.  Though in the works for three years, the new green roof being constructed at the Eglinton West subway station will be the first green roof on top of a subway. Constructed by Gardens in the Sky Inc, the green roof is visible from the Allen road expressway, which is a heavily-used north-south artery from the 401 highway. The green roof will be a 9,000 square foot garden constructed from sedum plants in removable trays. In addition to improving the aesthetic value of the area, the green roof will encourage bird and insect life and reduce heat in this heavily-used traffic corridor, according to Terry McGlade, president of Gardens in the Sky, Inc. The roof will cost about $25-$30 more per square foot than a traditional roof.