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The World Green Roof Congress ’08: Innovation, Research & Friends

on September 13, 2008 at 7:24 pm under

My husband (and business partner) Aramis and I were lucky  to sidestep  our film  scheduling issue and we are very pleased to be able to go to The World Green Roof Congress in stately London this upcoming Wednesday and Thursday, September 17-18!   Presented by CIRIA in partnership with, this Congress promises to offer us greenroof aficionados an interesting mix of the latest in innovation and research progress  in the UK and around the world in addition to a great working vacation.  

In 2005 we attended the  Congress in Basel, Switzerland, where I presented my paper “An International Call for The Greenroof Projects Database.”   We enjoyed a wonderful conference spending time with many old colleagues and friends; from the jokes of the late Dr. Dave Beattie  and Dr. Rob Berghage to the wonderful hospitality of Dr. Stephan Brenneisen and staff to Trish and Kelly Luckett (our travel buddies from all the Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities conferences and the International Green Roof Congress in Nuertingen, Germany  back in 2004), we learned a lot and had a grand time.   And we fully expect the same with hosts the likes of Dusty Gedge, co founder of,  and company.

                                                           Christine and her advisors, Dave Beattie & Rob Berghage in Basel, Switzerland, 2005

I’ve known Dusty now for  six years, and for those of you unfortunate ones not to have met him (yet – he’s always making new friends), he’s quite a character – in a good way, of course!   I know everything is relative, but he has quite a thick accent, and when he gets really excited he speeds up, making it a real challenge to catch everything he’s saying.   In fact, Dusty recently told Aramis, “I am practising talking slowly!”

 Examing a bee high atop Canary Wharf; Photo by LSV      Canary Wharf Underground Station in 2003; Photo by LSV

We first started corresponding in 2002, when  he was the lead for the Black Redstart Action Plan for the London Biodiversity Partnership, and this was the topic of his first  2003 Guest Feature  article for   In October, 2003 Dusty took me on a personal greenroof tour  of projects in Deptford Creek in the Thames corridor within inner London, and across several roofs within Canary Wharf, a huge and hugely successful urban regeneration development, and his enthusiasm and knowledge –  not to mention his energy, was intensive!   In November, 2004 he contributed “ ~ A New Independent Green Roof Organisation for the UK” and through  all his hard  work he has become one of the leading campaigners in the UK on greenroofs.   His commitment to promoting living roofs is genuine and wholehearted and is only comparable to his passion for sustaining and mitigating biodiversity in the built environment by incorporating living architecture.

Back to the Congress – the Keynote address will be given by Richard Blakeway, adviser to the Mayor of London on environment issues; who else will be in attendance?   Many local UK and international professionals will be speaking, and including Dusty, to name but a few are: Dr. Nigel Dunnett, University of Sheffield, UK;  Dr. Ken Yeang, Llewelyn Davies Yeang, UK; Paul Collins, Nottingham Trent University, UK; Dr. Manfred Kohler, University of Applied Sciences, Neubrandenburg, Germany and WGRIN, President; Wolfgang Ansel, International Green Roof Association (IGRA), Germany; Dr. Stephan Brenneisen, Life Sciences and Facility Management, University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland; Kristin Getter & Dr. Brad Rowe, Michigan State University; Peter Lowitt, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, North America; Dr. Elizabeth Fassman, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Auckland, New Zealand; and Dr. Sam Hui, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Hong Kong, as well as couple of our own Contributing Editors:  Ed Snodgrass  of Emory Knoll Farms/Green Roof Plants  is presenting “Green roof plant selection and landscapes” and Christine Thuring of Green Roof Safari is just  “going for fun” – after six days from guiding her first Green Roof Safari tour.

                    Allen & Overy's London modern headquarters - venue to host the WGRC; Photo source: WGRC

I’m planning on blogging while in jolly old England, taking lots of photos and film of presenters, attendees, exhibitors, and local greenroof projects.   So if you can’t go, check back here for some casual interviews and discussions with friends and associates, old and new.     You know it won’t be all work – we fully expect to enjoy a few relaxed, informal evenings with a pint or two in  some lovely English pubs with lots of local character(s), too!

Learn more about The World Green Roof Congress 2008.