Living Roof Urbanism

Our Senior Planning, Urban and Landscape Design Consultant Zoë Avery recently presented her research into how we can better integrate living roofs as urbanistic systems into our cities in light of urban population growth.

The term ‘Living Roof Urbanism’ is a concept developed to assist living roof design that results in maximised benefits. Living roofs, when designed in a holistic manner can produce multi-functional benefits that significantly improve our urban environment. Living roof design currently does not successfully maximise these potential benefits, nor are they acknowledged widely. Regularly, living roofs are designed for one benefit, for example, stormwater attenuation or aesthetics. The resulting effect is a reduction in the perceived benefits and subsequently lower global uptake.

Zoë explained her research to date of looking into a set of guidelines to achieve holistic living roof development enabling maximum benefits. The current toolkits, models, policy incentives and case studies compartmentalise the benefits rather than considering living roofs as part of the landscape and another surface that can enhance our environment achieving a multitude of benefits.

Following on from this 4sight has been working alongside Renee Davies, Dean of Unitec, to develop the Living Roof Guide for Whangarei – being the first living roof guide in New Zealand.

This guide will be launched in a few weeks and aims to showcase the multi-functional benefits and design considerations of these systems. Living Roof benefits include stormwater attenuation, increased biodiversity, the ability to create more public spaces providing a greater connection with nature, extending the roof life, increased marketability and profitability of the buildings to name a few.

We will share the Living Roof Guide in the coming weeks, however, for more information on our Urban and Landscape Design service, view our latest projects.