The living green wall at the Toombull end of Brisbane’s Airport Link. Picture: Darren England
The living green wall at the Toombull end of Brisbane’s Airport Link. Picture: Darren England

Calls for hanging gardens on Coast towers

A LEADING landscape architects' group wants governments to make green walls and rooftops compulsory in tomorrow's high-rises.

The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) will head to the Gold Coast for the first time this year to discuss issues including greater "greener living" as part of the fifth International Festival of Landscape Architecture.

AILA CEO Tim Arnold said more than 300 landscape architects were expected to converge on the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre in October to share ideas and inspiration.

TOXIC PLANTS THRIVING ALONG POPULAR GOLD COAST WALKWAY

A rooftop garden in Pyrmont, in Sydney. Source: Green Roofs Australasia
A rooftop garden in Pyrmont, in Sydney. Source: Green Roofs Australasia

Popular in cities such as Singapore, green walls and roofs improve urban amenity and help create positive environmental outcomes in high-density urban areas.

While developments such as One Central Park in Sydney, Illura in Melbourne and Botanica Residences in Brisbane have embraced green walls in their designs, green living features are still a relatively rare sight in urban environments in Australia.

A national advocacy body that represents 3000 active and engaged landscape architects (including more than 500 from Queensland, 35 of them Gold Coasters) AILA was created to promote the profession's importance both now and in the future.

Mr Arnold said AILA believes it's 'imperative' governments step in to help find solutions to problems caused by demands on open space.

A leading architecture groups wants Gold Coast high-rises to incorporate more green walls like this one on a residential tower near Central Park, Sydney.
A leading architecture groups wants Gold Coast high-rises to incorporate more green walls like this one on a residential tower near Central Park, Sydney.

It wants governments and the private sector to work together to promote innovative building and landscape strategies.

AILA recently released a policy platform calling on governments to legislate to make green walls and roofs a compulsory component of new buildings.

It wants regulatory framework to guide sustainable approaches to the challenges facing urban areas - approaches that combine design criteria, performance standards and planning codes for building, urban and open space design.

Mr Arnold said the Coast was perfectly placed to benefit from the experience of other cities where green living initiatives have helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slash energy bills.

Spring at the High Line in New York City. Picture: istock
Spring at the High Line in New York City. Picture: istock

He said delegates heading to the Coast were looking forward to seeing the role landscape architecture had played in the rollout of the light rail and planning for the Commonwealth Games.

The event will include a student program, a two-day conference, the National Landscape Architecture Awards, the AILA AGM and National Council and State Presidents meeting, public talks, tours and exhibitions.

A rooftop garden, with chickens, at Macquarie Bank at Martin Place, Sydney. Picture: James Croucher
A rooftop garden, with chickens, at Macquarie Bank at Martin Place, Sydney. Picture: James Croucher

Mr Arnold said more policy and planning measures were needed at the local government level to make green walls and roofs easier to implement.

He said more comprehensive data and analysis would help ensure green spaces become standard features in new urban buildings.

A rooftop garden in Sydney. Source: Green Roofs Australasia
A rooftop garden in Sydney. Source: Green Roofs Australasia

CASE STUDIES

The City of Chicago: Green walls and roofs are at the forefront of new urban design and building projects. Recent projects include the Chicago Town Hall, with a green roof, and

Millennium Park, which is one of the largest green roof projects in the world.

One Central Park, Sydney: An Australian exemplar of green walls and roofs in new

urban development.

The High Line: An aerial greenway in New York, in the US, where vegetation was chosen to pay homage to the wild plants that had colonised the abandoned railway before it was

The path on the High Line in New York City. Picture: iStock
The path on the High Line in New York City. Picture: iStock

repurposed.

The Burnley Living Roofs: The University of Melbourne's Burnley Campus is a world-class

research and teaching facility - and the first of its kind in Australia. The University has

established the facility to demonstrate to the wider community how green transformations

can be achieved in our cities, aspiring to lead through example.

Lady Cilento Children's Hospital project: A partnership between architecture and landscape architecture disciplines to achieve a best practice outcome in the absence of any formal policy position from Brisbane City Council or the Queensland Government. The total area of roof garden is more than 3200m sq and features more than 46,000 individual plants, offers

The public garden area at Lady Cilento Hospital. Picture: Jono Searle.
The public garden area at Lady Cilento Hospital. Picture: Jono Searle.

320sq m of high quality turf, eight garden shelters, 12 green monoliths and 33 epiphyte

columns. The green sloping roof is made up of 1400 individual planting cassettes and

contains a total of 23,000 plants.

 

WHY GREEN IS GOOD

A green wall on Bligh Street in Sydney’s CBD overlooking a number of restaurants and small businesses. Picture: Richard Payne/City of Sydney
A green wall on Bligh Street in Sydney’s CBD overlooking a number of restaurants and small businesses. Picture: Richard Payne/City of Sydney

The economic, social, health and environmental benefits of green walls and roofs include:

* Lower greenhouse gas emissions and improved air quality

* Enhance water quality and reduce urban run-off

* Lower urban heat island effects (human activities can make urban areas substantially hotter than rural ones)

* Reduce energy costs and improve building efficiency - structures can be insulated and heat absorbed/reflected

* Broaden biodiversity - results when size and quality of habitat is improved

* Boost food production capacity at a local level

* Enhance green space in urban areas - smart designs can deliver multiple outcomes from confined spaces



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