Urban Agriculture
University of California
Urban Agriculture

Rooftop Gardens in Los Angeles

In dense urban communities it can be a challenge for gardeners to find a plot to call their own.  Community gardens are one strategy to create garden space for people without backyards.  Another possibility is to look at rooftops for garden space.  Today’s LA Times Home and Garden Section features a local chef who has developed a garden on a rooftop in Beverly Hills which supplies some of the herbs and vegetables he uses at his restaurant. Photos and the article are available at http://tinyurl.com/ct2wje .

Another more extensive rooftop garden was recently created on a mid-rise residential building in downtown Los Angeles.   This project, entitled SYNTHe, will include fruit trees and vines along with vegetables.  Take a look at the photos and description at http://tinyurl.com/c3qfbh.

While food production is one focus of rooftop gardening, it's not the only reason to plant on roofs.  There is a strong international “green roof” movement that promotes greening rooftops to help cool and insulate buildings and reduce storm water runoff.  Several metropolitan areas have recently promoted green roofs.  For example, starting this year New York City building owners can receive substantial property tax credits for installing green roofs.  

Anyone interested in creating a rooftop garden or green roof will need to do some research, since structural and safety issues are involved.  The weight of soil, plants and water and the weight capacity of the roof need to be carefully assessed.  I found two especially helpful resources as I looked for information on rooftop gardening.  A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle provided an overview of rooftop gardening around the United States, at http://tinyurl.com/crl673. Here in Los Angeles, the City of Los Angeles Environmental Affairs Department has published an outstanding and extensive guide to green roofs, available at tinyurl.com/atqf7l

As Los Angeles residents continue to seek ways to improve their urban environment, rooftop gardening merits further exploration and expansion.

 

Posted on Saturday, February 14, 2009 at 11:57 PM

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