Roof Gardens

Paul Osmond paul at
Thu Jan 8 04:19:12 EST 1998

Hello all:

We at the City of Port Phillip (inner suburbs of Melbourne) recently
received a government urban design grant to undertake a research project on
the concept and practicalities of roof gardens in the inner urban context. 

The first stage of the project will involve environmental science,
landscape, horticulture, engineering and architecture students from four
universities, local conservation organisations, and we are looking to
involve local industry and developers as well. The outcomes will include a
lot of research data, a public exhibition of student work, pilot plots and
practical "how to do it" guidelines. Stage 2 will involve fairly large scale
implementation in a new Council-run housing development.

A few research topics for the students which initially come to mind include:

* Structural implications for roofs
* Species selection in general, and with reference to particular conditions
(coastal, drought resistant, shade tolerant where roofs are overshadowed etc.)
* Retrofitting rooftop gardens to existing roofs
* Hydrology - drainage and water balance
* Growing media
* Geotextiles, cells and membranes
* Edible rooftop landscapes (vegetable plots etc.)
* Weed control through appropriate initial species selection
* Aesthetics, urban design and implications for historic buildings
* Insulation properties of roof gardens - implications for energy efficiency
* Quantification of improvements to air quality (interception of particulate
air pollutants, production of oxygen)

..... etc.

Anybody out there with comments, suggestions and best of all, first hand
experience, we would be delighted to hear from you. Before we do anything
else, we are scouring the Internet and other sources to find out what others
have done, to avoid reinventing any wheels and help identify the "gaps"
which will frame the tasks for the students. And, anything which we find out
will be shared over the Net so that others can benefit from our (hopefully)
successes and (inevitably) errors!

Cheers, Paul Osmond

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