July 27, 2008

Making urban areas a little greener

Walking through Lausanne last week-end I saw a building with a green roof.  I didn't have my camera with me but I did find this photo of the building posted on Flickr by MisterMeta.  

It made me think of how metropolitan areas could do a better job creating incentives for those who create green roofs.  Researching the subject online I found out that in Germany it is a legal requirement to include green roofs on new flat-roofed buildings in order to compensate for plant life destroyed by construction.  More than the aesthetically-beautiful appeal, roofs with grass, bushes and trees can absorb up to 50% of storm water, reduce CO2 emissions, improve insulation and enhance biodiversity. 

One of the world's most amazing green roof buildings is the Acros Fukuoka located in Fukuoka City, Japan. Stunning garden terraces up to 60m from the ground with 35,000 plants representing 76 species.

In the same spirit, New York has a fantastic project of re-greening the High Line.  The High Line is an elevated railway that snakes around Manhattan's west side built during the Depression and has been abandoned for a few decades.  It is slowly being transformed into an urban walkway full of grassy paths, gardens and trees.  I read that the first section, from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street, is scheduled to open at the end of the year.  
Click here to read more on www.thehighline.org.  

With the expansion of urbanization, I hoping green roofs will eventually become a global movement.

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