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Roof gardens and parks for sustainable cities

The cities of the future will be under a carpet of vegation. So compelling are the reasons for this policy, they can scarcely be evaded:

  • roof vegation has the most beneficial consequences for surface water management
  • roof gardens have excellent thermal properties: the insulation they provide makes buildings warmer in winter and cooler in summer
  • extensive roof gardens provide wonderful habitats for wild life
  • roofing membranes last longer when protected by a cool damp layer of vegetation
  • in dense cities, outdoor space is at roof level is often pleasanter than outdoor space at ground level: it is quieter and less polluted. These are known as 'intensive' roof gardens
  • plants on roofs take in carbon-dioxide and give out oxygen
  • vegetated roofs collect dust which otherwise pollutes the air

Cycling and roof-gardening are two of the cheapest and best policies for making cities more sustainable.

Diagram (above) of a sustainable city, with roof vegetation, from the essay on 'Eco-city plans' from Tom Turner's City as landscape (1996)