Green Roofs and Walls – an essential element for the future of sustainable urbanism

Sidonie Carpenter – Green Roofs Australia

Spoke at the 2010 Conference

Due to the large demands for food, energy and water, the growth in urban populations has and will continue to create a unique set of environmental problems, both within cities and in the surrounding areas. Many of these problems are either directly caused or exacerbated by the removal of vegetation to accommodate urban expansion. It is expected that many of these problems will be further exacerbated by climate change.

By 2005, 50% of the world’s population will live in cities (Bindé, 1998), and in the industrialized world, the figure has already surpassed 80%.

One design solution that provides and a solution to the many issues faced by urbanisation, is the implementation of green walls and roofs, a very real and achievable solution for supporting a sustainable environment.

In Australia, till now, green walls and roofs have been overlooked as a design priority or concern, thus at this stage we have limited knowledge and skill base for their design and implementation. It is an area that offers many diverse applications with outcomes that directly benefit society, the economy and the environment.

The diverse issues shaping the discussion of viable agronomic systems in the urban fabric must continue to be pursued if we are to be successful in our leadership of the sustainable movement. This pursuit will guide the industry toward meeting our environmental responsibilities and project a broader meaning for green walls and roofs into the urban fabric.

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