Green Roofs and Urban Agriculture Research Paper by Master Researcher

Green Roofs and Urban Agriculture
Examines the role of roof gardens in urban agriculture.
# 39410 | 2,900 words | 13 sources | MLA | 2002 | US
Published on Oct 08, 2003 in Environmental Studies (Urban Issues) , Agricultural Studies (General)

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This paper focuses on roof gardens cities in North America such as Toronto and Chicago, and the ability of these roof gardens to meet agricultural needs. The paper explores the extent to which urban agriculture in the context of green roof technology is possible, how many acres of urban space would be required to produce a quantity of food equivalent to that which is lost when an acre of agricultural land is suburbanized, the pros and cons of green roofs for urban agricultural production, the current achievements of green roofs in contributing to urban agriculture, and finally, the future of green roofs as a component of urban agriculture. The paper then outlines the findings of this research study.

Research Questions
Research Findings

From the Paper:

"The essence of a roofing system is that it provides a watertight membrane. A green roof does this. In fact, it then proceeds to protect this membrane by burying it under a thin layer of growing material. This layer protects the membrane from ultraviolet rays and from accidental damage, enhancing lifecycle and lowering maintenance costs. The green roof is a complete roofing system offering protection, drainage and insulation. It is an integral element of the building envelope rather than an appendage like a roof garden, which is added outside of, and above, the building envelope and roofing system. Moreover, recent technological developments have made them "lighter, more durable and better able to withstand the extreme climactic conditions of the rooftop." ( In other words, with current technology they are functional--even if that was not the case in the past: Particularly if they are integrated into the design of the building rather than being retrofitted.
"Green roofs are described as intensive or extensive. Intensive green roofs are heavier, with deeper cover and capable of supporting larger plants and trees and human use. Extensive green roofs offer the various economic and ecological advantages with a thinner level of cover, lower structural requirements and a reduced tolerance for use. Both types of roof are capable of producing foodstuffs. The agricultural productivity, or potential agricultural productivity, of these roofing systems will be the subject of this analysis."

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