In even the most congested cities, there’s a vast amount of untapped space that would make great gardens and parkland. Don’t see it? Try looking up. The roofs of buildings–and in cities, rooftops tend to be flat–are perfect places to go green. Conventional rooftops are often coated in tar, creating “heat islands” that concentrate and release the sun’s heat into the air. They’re also mainly unattractive and unused space. That’s why the trend of the green or living roof is growing, literally, on residences and public buildings alike.
A green roof is exactly what it sounds like; it’s when rooftop space is converted into a place for vegetation to grow. And the benefits of green roofs are numerous. The plants on the roof absorb carbon dioxide, an especially great thing in cities with heavy traffic and large footprints. The soil also captures stormwater that can tax sewer systems. For city dwellers, these gardens can provide a beautiful respite, while in rural areas they help buildings blend more naturally into the surroundings. Rooftops can also be used as vegetable gardens. Check out some of the pictures below, which show green roofs in rural and urban areas alike, and you can read up on the basics or watch a video introduction to green roofs.