Urban implementation of extensive green roofs in the Canadian context: social acceptability, design criteria and implementation strategies
A green roof is a roof more or less covered with vegetation. Experts usually differentiate extensive from intensive green roofs. Extensive green roofs are lighter than intensive green roofs and have a shallower growth substrate for plants (20cm or less). Only relatively small-scale vegetation can be implemented. For minimal maintenance, green roofs are generally not irrigated.
The current number of green roofs in cities is too low to have a significant environmental effect - namely on heat islands or urban runoff. However, ample Canadian and international research demonstrates the potential of green roofs in this regard. Heat islands or urban runoff are expected to worsen with climate change. For these environmental reasons as well as for economic and public health reasons, Montreal, Toronto and other Canadian cities are looking into the large-scale implementation of extensive green roofs, more adaptable to existing buildings.
This project aims to identify the factors or combination of factors most indicative of the social acceptability of green roofs. Aesthetic dimension is an example of factors that has proven decisive in the difficulty of applying more environmentally friendly methods of vegetation management. The resulting research data will determine design criteria for extensive green roofs most likely to promote social acceptability and will guide strategic planning for their implementation at the urban scale. The research field is the Montreal region.
This issue, which affects the design (aesthetic) and social acceptability of green technology – more specifically phytotechnology, has almost never been addressed in research. It also incorporates the global notion of nature and appreciation of the latter in these urban and functional incarnations (phytotechnologies such as subsurface filtering marshes or plantations for phytoremediation site). Finally, the possibility of considering research data in the design of these technologies to increase social acceptability is an important issue in lad-use planning disciplines. Results of this research will benefit researchers, phytotechnologies promoters, municipal and institutional decision-makers as well as designers, in Canada and abroad.
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