’s “This Week in Review” on GreenroofsTV: October 5, 2012

October 6, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Each week you can expect to learn What’s New here on through our “This Week in Review” video. Here is the transcript from October 5, 2012 from our daughter, Anjuli – click on the photo below to see the video, or here.  Enjoy!

– Hello, I’m Anjuli Velázquez and welcome to “This Week in Review” for October 5th, 2012 on GreenroofsTV.

Project of the Week

–  Our project of the week is the Fashion Valley Mall Living Wall, built in 2012, in San Diego, California.  Fashion Valley Mall is an upscale, open-air shopping mall in Mission Valley and is the county’s largest regional mall.  The 800 sf living wall is located in a plaza and meeting place at the main entrance to the mall and is the newest component of a $15 million renovation nearing completion at the Mission Valley venue.  The project utilized 4,000 plants with the soil-based VGM ® planting system by Tournesol Siteworks and was completed by Greenscaped Buildings.

Each plant grew for four months in a controlled area before moving to Fashion Valley Mall.  Using triangulated drip irrigation, the wall is 18′ tall and 51′ wide and utilizes 250 Tournesol Siteworks modules.  The drip irrigation system uses gravity to flow water throughout the modules.  Meant to resemble the keys on a piano, plants used include spider plants, lemon button ferns, ribbon ferns, Ajuga, moneywort and mondo grass, among others.

– To learn more about the Fashion Valley Mall Living Wall,  click on our project of the week photo on our homepage (or on the above photos).

What’s New

Advertiser Press Releases:

–  Rouse Management Tops Off Parman Place Apartments in Madison Wisconsin with a LiveRoof ® Green Roof.

–  Green Living Technologies International: Green Living Roof Can Reduce SYSCO Foods Annual Cooling Energy Cost by 7%.

Industry News

–  Green Roofs for Healthy Cities is pleased to announce the launch of a premium  collectable  publication that celebrates the biggest and brightest stars in the universe of living architecture.  “The Rise of Living Architecture” coffee table book features beautiful graphic profiles of over fifty visionaries who have fueled the explosive growth of green roofs and walls across North America over the past decade.  Its release will be celebrated at the CitiesAlive: 10th Annual Green Roof and Wall Conference, held October 17-20, 2012, in Chicago, IL.

– Portland Bureau of Environmental Services will begin accepting applications again in October 2012 for ecoroof construction.  The City of Portland offers an incentive to property owners and developers to add more ecoroofs.  The incentive program is part of Portland’s Grey to Green initiative to increase sustainable stormwater management practices, control non-native, invasive plants, and protect sensitive natural areas.

–  Sky Gardens Blog

– Over at Sky Gardens, check out Linda’s latest posts:  “It’s Not Too Late for the 2012 World Green Roof Congress in Hangzhou, China!,” “Congrats to the Winners of the 2012 Green Roof and Wall Awards of Excellence,” and “’s “˜This Week in Review’ on GreenroofsTV: September 28, 2012.”

– Guest Blogger

–  Also check out our new Guest Blogger, Steve Waller, who writes about “Bridging the Urban Jungle: Mile End Park.”

– “Upcoming Events

–  October 15th: is the IHDC 2012 Conference – Ecosystem Services Come to Town, in London, UK.

–  And on October 17-20 is the big one, the 10th Annual Cities Alive Green Roof & Wall Conference in Chicago!

– “In the News“

–  Tamara Hinson of Metro asks, “Could the future of the environment be found within the vertical garden?”  More and more buildings are going green and choosing beautiful vegetated facades instead of cement ones.  French botanist Patrick Blanc is one of the world’s most famous vertical garden designers and realized the potential of vertical gardening after noticing the way some plants were able to grow vertically without soil and started creating ways of using lightweight, low-maintenance vegetation walls.

One of Patrick’s most famous creations is the vertical garden at the Quai Branly Museum in Paris.  The garden measures 200m by 12m high and features a wide range of plants including species native to Brazil, South Korea and the Himalayas. Toronto has plans for a Sky Farm, which will have eight million square feet of vertical growing space for crops and will bring in the same amount of produce as a 420 hectare farm.  And several buildings in Jakarta that have vertical gardens are living proof of the many benefits that come from green walls like producing fresh air, growing herbs and vegetables and reducing heating and cooling costs for the buildings.

–  Adam Thomas of the University of Delaware talks about, “Members of UD, Delaware community celebrate green roof completion.”  Not only the community and students celebrated but even U.S. Senator Tom Carper was in attendance last Friday on the new green roof.  Senator Carper said, “This new green roof project at the University of Delaware is a great example of the power of public-private partnerships.  With support from the state of Delaware, DuPont and the University of Delaware, this project is helping to lower energy use, clean the air and teach sustainable environmental practices to future generations at the same time.”

Chad Nelson, assistant professor of landscape design, didn’t want to use a membrane system but wanted a modular system consisting of 2-feet by 2-feet plastic trays that could be installed by the students and local volunteers and then moved for roof maintenance.  The green roof has heat-hardy plants including several varieties of colorful sedum, plus chives and crocus; and some of the benefits it will provide will be reducing carbon dioxide emissions, absorbing stormwater runoff, providing a living classroom for students, as well as giving them the opportunity for hands-on experience in growing and maintaining the plants.

– To learn more about these stories and new ones posted daily, go to our In the News or Newslinks section of our website.

– Send us your green articles, videos and images to and share your greenroof or greenwall info with the world!

– Make sure to keep up with everything by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook, being a member of our network on LinkedIn, and subscribing to our greenroofsTV channel on YouTube!

– This has been This Week in Review for October 5th,  2012 on GreenroofsTV.  I’m Anjuli Velázquez and I’ll see you next week!

*This week’s episode is sponsored by The Greenroof Directory, brought to you by*

Did we miss something?  We’d love to hear from you!

~ Linda V.

Bridging the Urban Jungle: Mile End Park

October 5, 2012 at 9:03 am

By  Steve Waller

It seems paradoxical, but often we define our cities by their green spaces.  Franklin Roosevelt once described forests as the lungs of the land, and parks play a similarly vital role in the lives of our cities. They offer both an oasis of calm, and a hub where people can meet and socialise.  As time goes on and an increasing proportion of the human race take up residence in cities, the way green spaces are designed and used is only becoming more important.

One of the biggest challenges civic planners will face will be arranging such areas so as to feel somehow free of the urban crush surrounding them.  With space at ceaselessly increasing premium in most conurbations, this is no easy thing to achieve.

One great example of a successful solution to this conundrum can be found in east London’s Mile End Park.  The park is pretty much linear, laid out in a narrow stretch for 3km.  As you’d expect for a piece of parkland of this size in such a densely populated area, the space is inevitably intersected by a major road, some minor roads and railway viaducts.  Obviously, having these interruptions wouldn’t do much to help the park in its “˜oasis of calm’ capacity.

Cutting through the sprawl, via flickr

A great get around to this fragmentation was devised by local resident Piers Gough of CZWG Architects, who designed the 25m wide “˜green bridge’ as part of the park’s regeneration at the start of the millennium.  Bridge engineering experts Mott MacDonald helped complete the structure (also known by locals as the “˜banana bridge’ owing to its yellow underside) which spans Mile End road at a height of 5.7m to allow any trucks among the 75,000 that pass under it each day to pass.

The bridge acts as an extension of the park and features 30 trees along the grassy length of the two 7m wide landscaped strips beside the walkway.  For those crossing the park, the impression of unbroken space is comparable to the affect of an infinity pool, as it blocks the view of the traffic below.

Crossing the bridge, via flickr

The bridge’s construction comprises a 150mm thick concrete deck which is laid out over permanent glass fibre reinforced plastic (these are the panels the form the aforementioned yellow underside) with support provided by 1380mm deep steel girders spanning 32.5m.  The bridge’s abutments use reinforced concrete and, due to the fact that London Underground tunnels run from the nearby station at a shallow depth, piled foundations were used to divert loads from potential stress points.

Spanning the road, via Wikipedia

Furthermore, the base of the bridge has been disguised using a green-tiled façade and turned into a retail space, with the rent paid by business to trade there going along way towards paying for the park’s upkeep.  A great example of cunning design and sustainable planning.

Flowing Green, via

Note: See more photos from CZWG Architects.

~  Steve Waller

Steve Waller  is an environmental blogger who takes an interest in all things green, architectural or otherwise.  For more of his thoughts visit his blog,