Green Rooftops in Cities

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

If you are a gardener living in a city, then what can you do to garden?  Some people have balconies and can do some basic gardening from their balconies (such as pots and hanging baskets and the occasional vegetable plants).  But living in a city does not make it easy for avid gardeners to pursue their hobby.  Some cities have community plot areas in which gardeners share a garden and have a certain section to themselves.  But what if you live in a high-rise building with no access to a balcony or a community garden?  Some people have chosen to look up, way up, and to the top of their building!

Space is limited in cities and so, we must make good use of the space that we have.  Some people look to their building roof tops to have a green space.  Generally, rooftops are unused, get adequate sunlight and rain for moisture.  Rooftops are the perfect spot for having a green space, and an excellent way to make use of some unused space.

So imagine having your very own garden with an amazing view of the cities landscape, enjoying the sun, without the crowds, in the comfort of not leaving your city block!  No more traveling to the country to enjoy a garden, you might be able to do it from your own space!

There are many benefits to green rooftops

  • Makes the space useable and increases its appearance.

  • Green roofs absorb precipitation and rainwater (reducing storm water runoff).

  • Plants help to cool cities as they are able to absorb the heat from the direct sunlight, and as well, they can help reduce the temperature of the building.

  • Reduction in greenhouse gases as plants and green spaces can absorb smog and pollutants.

  • Reduction in noise.  Green roofs can absorb noise and sound.

  • Green roofs can sustain a variety of plants and invite several bird species. 

  • Green roofs and green spaces can bring communities together and empower people to make a difference.

  • Green roofs can allow food production!  Vegetable gardens can often thrive in these spaces.


Calgary has the Alberta EcoRoof initiative which teaches people about the concept of green roof spaces and how to get started.

So, if this is something that you have always wanted to do, but you feel stuck living in a city, then this might be the right avenue for you to explore!