Thursday, October 07, 2010

Theme; green roofs and green cities

"He left the rural countryside; the nature and moved into town".

Countryside and cities can be separated just by this, the green, the silence, the freedom. But we also made the suburbs which is a combination; close to nature, or have your own garden. In the suburbs we can found the residential buildings which can be huge with hundreds of inhabitants, or large areas covered with single family houses, each with its own garden; the sprawl.

In the middle 60's and 70's the Swedish governement invested in the Million Programme which built affordable apartments, close to an "area center" with everything needed for the people and often also close to nature. Idea was initially good, but has now as in the whole Europe, "started" to have a lot of problems as segregation, the centers closes down and houses are falling apart. Some of the worst areas had to be demolished, some of the better has transformed to condominiums. And in the other part, in the sprawl the same problem, but a lot of them were there from the begining; no stores, long way to town, segregated from the rest of the city inhibitans (especially those in the million program area).

When new areas are built here in Sweden, they just continue with this million program style, meaning; a lot of similar buildings, affordable for one kind of income level, but what they do is to put things from the sprawl planning too; it is far to stores, far to citycenter and a consequence; a dependency of cars.

Why is so as we have to choose either to live in a small house in the countryside far away from city or in an apartment far away from city or in the sprawls far away from the city if we want a safe neighborhood with some green areas around?!

When can we live in the city, with all its own life and in the same have more green with all that?

Towns, villages and cities are absolutely the best area to establish small farming, orangeries, fruit trees, herb gardens, botanical gardens and tropical greenhouses. Their inhabitants can take care of them together. No one has to plan the full garden for himself, and do not have to take care of everything himself. Roofs, balconies and spaces between houses can be either private or a sharing private with some of the neighbors.

Green walls, urban agriculture, green streets and streets in greenery are post I made in this blog with pictures from my journey to central Europe. There you can find proofs that we can do it!

In this post I choose to not make an comment on every picture (list of where those pics are taken can be found in the end of this post). But look closer and you will see that every picture has green roofs in one or another way (double click to see closer). Green roofs has many benefits except being nice and cozy. They last twice longer than ordinary roofs, reduce sounds by 40 decibel (at 12 cm depth) and can reduce heat gains by 95% and heat losses with 26% (

Green roofs can also be used for urban agriculture, as gardens, as golf area (!), can contribute to refuges to rare invertebrate populations and the green cleans the air and give better air quality in cities (

The benefits are many, and why it hasn't been used that much before is to me a little strange, but can be explained by our history. Even if a city is something made from the past, one house by one, it is not planned by one piece (with some exceptions) and the result is a city with a lot of parts, but not really a whole. Another explanation is certainly with the idea of a city controlled by man and if any green should be there, it should be with the hand of the man; flower arrangement, parks and so on. Another is definitely that human should be in the city to work, or do things that contributes to others work. Places to be for free and to relax is not really in the plan when it does not contribute to any business. Last argument is that the technology hasn't been here before, but that is only a piece of the truth, because green spaces can be grown almost everywhere if we want.

Anyhow with stronger societies, where the individuals are seeing as important and with a government concerning health, green space can be invested in, because unhealthily is costly for the city.

1. Lausanne, Switzerland 2. Geneva, Switzerland 3. Tübingen, Germany 4. Amersfoort, Netherlands 5. Breisach, Germany 6-9. Freiburg, Germany 10.Tübingen, Germany 11. Freiburg, Germany 12 Zermatt, Switzerland 13. Breisach, Germany 14.Tübingen, Germany 15. Breisach, Germany 16. Tübingen, Germany 17-18. Neuf Brisach, France 19-20 The Alpes, Switzerland 21-23 Breisach, Germany 24. Amersfoort, Netherlands

1 comment:

  1. It was really nice to read that you enjoyed your trip and stay there. Green Roof itself becomes an additive advantage to the places like this as many people loves to stay at such places where they can find vast greenery and it is environment savvy also.
    Roofing companies edmonton


MIRAGE: A Short Film about Arcosanti

Mirage from Edan Cohen on Vimeo .