Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Roof-Hopping at Tufts

Last Sunday, SFBU spent a chilly morning on top of Tisch Library, gazing at succulents and the bones of the Tufts Green Roof Collaborative. We spoke with Colleen Butler, who organized the project for her research on pollinator insect species, and dreamed of a day when BU would agree to set up something similar for students to participate in urban agriculture.

There are a lot of considerations that go into to building a green roof: roof access, access to water, weight-bearing capacity, and membrane-layering are just a few things Colleen told us about the construction process. The Green Roof Collaborative was set up as an experiment in its first year, using uniform, shallow containers to allow for easy removal of the plants if need be, and to facilitate the scientific research going on there. Colleen's work specifically deals with measuring the bee population that visits the different species of plants on the roof, but she's also interested in the insulation and heat-island reducing effect a green roof can have in an urban setting.

Plans are in the works to set up a test garden this summer on top of BU's College of Arts and Sciences. The Organic Gardening Collective operates out of the (as yet) ramshackle greenhouse there, so we could put out some containers on the roof, experiment with what grows best, get some good hands in the soil, and propose a plan for further action to BU administration in Fall 2009. Ultimately, we'd like to have a student-run workstudy/internship program in green building/design/urban ag. available to those who tend the garden. Of course, all of this goes back to reestablishing the connection between the individual and his or her food supply; knowing where your food comes from is easiest when you grow it yourself! If you'd like to be part of this project or share any thoughts/advice, contact slowfood@bu.edu.

Other green roofs in Boston that are worth a look:

WGBH in Brighton
Boston's World Trade Center
the Four Seasons Hotel and
Massachusetts General Hospital (run by the Food Project)
also the Apple Store on Boylston St. ...maybe?

Living walls are cool too.
Green Roof FAQ from Good Magazine: here.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Greetings Kate! I am enjoying your blog!

Another green roof can be found at Ikea: http://www.greenroofs.com/projects/pview.php?id=364