By the late 1800’s, New York City’s population had grown by more than four times in just 50 years. And people were crammed into every possible space.
There were a lot of problems with this, but most notably: there were no grassy areas for people to relax in. People were so desperate to feel the grass between their toes, they hung out in the only place they could find it: cemeteries!
Luckily, by 1873, Frederick Law Olmstead’s great masterpiece was completed. And, the people of New York have enjoyed the lush green spaces, people watching, and community events of Central Park ever since.
Since then, as cities around America became more populous, planners included community parks. But there was still something missing: a place where people could dig their hands in the dirt and grow flowers and food for themselves and their family.
Community gardens have taken root (pardon the pun) in many urban areas, to the delight of green thumbs everywhere. And, for multi-family buildings and communities, there’s an opportunity to create this green space, even if you’re limited for land: head to the roof.
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Green roofs and roof gardens have grown in popularity in recent years, mainly because of their many, many benefits, including:
- The therapeutic benefits of gardening for people of all ages
- The potential for fresh, locally-sourced food
- Increased market value (if well-executed)
- Better insulation that decreases energy consumption and costs.
- 50-90% reduction in stormwater runoff
- Waterproof roof membranes last 200-300% longer if covered by soil
- They have been known to substantially lower noise levels. Great, if for example, your building is near an airport.
- You can earn up to 15 LEED credits according to GreenRoofTechnology.com
Of course, there are some risks to installing a green roof or roof garden: the potential for a collapse or leak is greater with an ecosystem on the roof. But there are ways to mitigate risk and reap the rewards of a greener lifestyle—check back next week for legal advice and construction tips for your garden roof.
We’ll be bringing you more sustainable tips and tricks in the coming weeks! If you don’t have the roof space, how do you make your buildings greener and your tenants happier? Leave us a comment below to get the conversation started.Read more on Maintenance & Improvements