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Commercial Roof Gardening?

  • Subject: [cg] Commercial Roof Gardening?
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 28 Jun 2003 11:05:29 EDT

Back to the original query: 

Are commercial roof gardens viable in a city like NYC?

Yes and no.

Some restaurateurs have created rooftop herb and vegetable gardens (both 
greenhouse and open space) to serve their needs.  I think, because of what is 
available from our greenmarkets and through ordinary commericial  distribution 
channels, that this is as much for pleasure as for any apparent cost savings, if 
any.  Being a good chef, while a dollars and cents profession, is also a 
passion - if the chef is obsessed with fresh and "just picked" then the kitchen 
garden becomes appealing. 

Outside of this specialized economic activity, I see the future of rooftop 
gardening in NYC (as well as other major cities) as being primarily an energy 
saving/pollution fighting strategy, a way to keep the municipality and state in 
line with Federal Pollution Standards.  Roof Gardens for this purpose have 
become extraordinarily common in Germany's cities. The use of this technology is 
growing in Japan as well. In North America, Toronto is a major center for 
green roof technology. 

Inspired by what he saw in German cities, Chicago's Mayor Daley is a key 
proponent of roof gardening in the United States.  Mayor Daley wanted a green roof 
on Chicago's City Hall and he got one.  Here is the American Association of 
Landscape Architect's webpage on that roof garden. <A 
HREF="http://www.asla.org/meetings/awards/awds02/chicagocityhall.html";>Chicago Roof Garden</A>

  Here is a link to the Green Roofs website: <A 
HREF="http://www.greenroofs.ca/grhcc";>Green Roofs Canada</A> .  

In all honesty, unless the food distribution system changes radically, for 
example diesel fuel prices get so high that the trucking of food from food hubs 
as far as 2,000 miles away becomes uneconomically viable, I don't see how 
rooftop gardens will be able to make a go commercially.  

Where I see roof kitchen gardening working best is for residents of a 
building or, in the case of large commerical rooftops in the outer boroughs like 
Queens or Brooklyn, as a space where food could be raised in aid to food 
security/soup kitchen efforts. 

Currently, as a member of Manhattan Community Board 4's response to NYC's 
Hudson Yards proposal, I have been a proponent of greening all of its commerical 
high rise roofs in the German/Japanese fashion as a way of perhaps creating 
more public/private green space and combatting our high air pollution levels.  
We'll see how that plays out. 

Best wishes,
Adam Honigman
 <A HREF="http://www.clintoncommunitygarden.org/";>Clinton Community Garden</A>

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