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Our green roof expert, Jessica Hutcheon, reports on her recent trip to ‘CitiesAlive’, Chicago IL

Image: Chicago City Hall Green Roof, October 2012

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) 10th Annual ‘CitiesAlive’ Green Roof and Wall Conference in Chicago IL, October 17 – October 20, 2012

Ten years ago, GRHC met in Chicago for the first green roof conference. Since then Chicago alone has constructed close to 5 million square feet of green roofs. While the theme of the conference focused on green roof performance, the closing plenary made it clear that green roofing is still experimental; we are putting plants and ecology where they don’t belong.  With this in mind, if we intend on using green roofs to improve our cities, we need to understand that it’s really a long term, thirty to forty year engagement that will only get more complex over time. As societal trends such as green infrastructure, the rise of urban agriculture, and an expanding concern over ecological restoration grow, we will see great innovation in the green roof research and industry.

Highlights of the conference included:

  • Site visits to the following green roofs: Chicago City Hall (image), 300 West Adams, Chicago Cultural Center, The Lurie Garden, Life Storage Building (333 West Ohio Street), Ogden School (24 West Walton Street), 900 North Michigan
  • New Rooftop Vegetable Technology
  • Lessons Learned from the Pioneers of Green Roof Policy: Toronto, Chicago, and Portland
  • Exploring Green Roof Long Term Performance