“Green Cities in the World” Book Available Now

May 8, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Green Cities in the World Book Available Now

Green Cities in the World

Although the newly published Green Cities in the World book will officially be launched at the World Green Infrastructure Congress (WGIC) 2014 in Sydney, Australia on October 7-10, 2014, it is now available for purchase in paper book and PDF.

Available Now

Edited by Julián Briz, Manfred Köhler, and Isabel de Felipe of WGIN – the World Green Infrastructure Network, Green Cities in the World is a compilation comprising 23 authors, including myself.

Green Cities in the World Book Available Now

The World Expo Zaragoza, Spain. Source: Greenroofs.com; Photo Courtesy: ZinCo

“The book Green Cities in the World is the result of a convergence of interest from individuals and public and private institutions looking to provide the urban society with a reference publication of a diversity of main topics and opinions from the green urban market. It has been edited by WGIN and PRONATUR.

The mix of academics, practitioners, entrepreneurs, and professionals in this publication leads to fruitful interactions and provides new insights into green urban development of the world. The publication has 16 chapters and 25 national stories, from 23 authors and 241 photos.

The book is structured in four scenarios: Economy, Sociology and Policy; Environment; Architecture and Technical; and National Stories.” ~ Green Cities in the World Editors

Green Cities in the World Book Available Now

Cook+Fox Architects’ 8th floor penthouse in Manhattan. Source: Greenroofs.com. Photo Courtesy of Green Roof Blocks.

World Green Infrastructure Network Project

The first book project by WGIN, the huge effort was spearheaded by Professor em. Polytechnic University of Madrid Julián Briz, and Associate Professor at the Polytechnic University of Madrid Isabel de Felipe.  Both are board and founding members of WGIN from PRONATUR – Sociedad Española para la Naturación Urbana (Spanish Society for Urban Greening).

The 358-page book has a very interesting mix of contributors including non-WGIN members green architect Emilio Ambasz, Singapore’s Dr. Puay Yok Tan (with Ho Wan Weng), Michigan State’s Dr. Brad Rowe, PhD. candidate Kelly Ksiazek, and myself.

Multiple Contributors

Green Cities in the World Book Available Now

The Golisano Institute for Sustainability. Source: Greenroofs.com. Photo Courtesy of Green Living Technologies International (GLTi).

In addition to chapters from Julián Briz (with Jose M. Duran and Kerstein Röhrich), WGIN  President Manfred Köhler, and Isabel de Felipe (with Teresa Briz), WGIN authors include founding board members Steven Peck of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, Matthew Dillon of Green Roofs Australasia, Brazil’s João Manuel Linck Feijó (with Renan Eschiletti Machado Guimarães and Luis Alberto Suárez Correa) and Japan’s Hajime Kozhimizu.  Additional WGIN member authors include Ho Wan Weng (with Dr. Puay Yok Tan), Colombia’s R. Andres Ibáñez Gutierréz, Poland’s Ewa Piatek-Kozuchowska (with Dr. Jan Lukaszkiewicz), Hong Kong’s C. Y. Jim, and Denmark’s Dorthe Rømø (and WGIN Green Ambassador).

Green Cities in the World is a thoughtful and important, heartfelt combined effort from dedicated professionals across many disciplines on many facets of international green building, urban greening and in particular, of course, the living architecture of greenroofs and greenwalls.   The spread and depth of topics and perspectives are unique and truly enlightening, full of keen observations, detailed research, project applications, and further reading.

Awesome Photos

Brimming with spectacular color photos from around the world (many which I supplied from Greenroofs.com’s various esteemed colleagues and advertisers – thank you!), they beautifully illustrate key points and projects.

Green Cities in the World Book Available Now

A pioneer in rooftop agriculture, Brooklyn Grange is a 40,000 square foot commercial farm located above a six-story building in the dense urban environment of Queens, New York. Photo © Andy Kropa.

Linda Velazquez’s Contribution

I wrote about a subject near and dear to Greenroofs.com‘s heart: Green Cities in the World Chapter 5 – Greenroofs & Greenwalls in the New Millennium: The Influence of the Age of Technology through Online and Social Media. An except is included below:

“The rise in popularity of vegetated roofs and walls is no doubt due in part to advances in information technology and the rise of multi-media exposure.  Beyond the traditional print, radio and even television venues, the power to reach, inform, and influence the masses at all levels of age and socio-political-geographical backgrounds from around the world has never been greater with the advent of the Internet.  According to Internet World Stats, by December 31, 2000, the Internet had 360,985,492 users worldwide and by June 30, 2012 the amount had exploded to 2,405,518,376 users. With Asia leading the way with 1,076,681,059 users, followed by Europe (518,512,109), North America (273,785,413), Latin America / Caribbean (254,915,745), Africa (167,335,676), the Middle East (90,000,455), and Oceania / Australia with 24,287,919, this figure represents a 566.4% growth rate (Internet World Stats, 2013).

Ecommerce, entertainment, the rapid diffusion of news and events, along with Email, instant messaging, social networking, texting, video calling over Wi-Fi and Skyping, is not only possible, but expected at the touch of a keyboard or mobile devices.  Our views of culture, social relationships, and how we interact in the world of e-business have forever changed through electronic media and smart devices.  The Internet has altered the way we do business forever – surfing the net has become a way of life around the world. ” ~ Linda Velazquez in Green Cities in the World

Order Online

As in many first-print editions, the paper copy of Green Cities in the World has some typos and photo caption errors.  All of the ones I caught were amended in the PDF version and will appear in the second printing of the book, too.

Green Cities in the World Book Available Now

2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Village. Source: Greenroofs.com; Photo Courtesy of Vitaroofs International Inc.

The paper copy cost is 40 € Euros plus shipping and handling costs, and the digital copy is 25 € Euros.  Order directly online here or from:

Editorial Agrícola Española

Email questions to:

Libros@editorialagricola.com or administracion@editorialagricola.com

Hopefully you’ll order a copy of this fine book, and we’ll see you in Sydney this October with many, if not all, of the authors for the official Green Cities in the World book launch!

Green Cities in the World Book Available Now

Follow @greenroofsaus on Twitter.

Happy reading,

~ Linda V.

Watch the Greenroofs & Walls of the World Virtual Summit 2013 Trailer

January 22, 2013 at 3:13 pm

We’ve created a short (3-minute) and fun trailer for our 2nd annual  Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2013.

We’re highlighting just a few of our awesome speakers and snippets of the promo videos in various languages including English, Spanish, German, French, Spanish, Korean and Chinese (Mandarin).  We hope you’ll like it!

See it here below:

By the way, you can watch all of the really short promo videos in multiple languages from me and all the WGIN members who attended the 2012 Hangzhou China World Green Roof Conference  last October, too.

You can see them all on our playlist and we have them playing on the Virtual Summit 2013 homepage, or you can see them individually by clicking on our names:

Linda Velazquez, Steven Peck, Julian Briz,  Matt Dillon,  Manfred Koehler, Francois Lassalle,  Eun-Heui Lee,  Dorthe Romo,  Wang Xianmin, and  Tanya Müller  Garcia.

It was really lots of fun filming these little promos amidst cars and trucks beeping, people walking by talking really loudly, flocks of birds chirping and squawking, etc. And you have to admit, the backgrounds were stunning!

Check out http://virtual.greenroofs.com for more information and to register for this event like no other.

See you online soon!

~ Linda V.

Reflections of Fall 2010 Greenroof Conferences: Mexico City, Part 1

December 31, 2010 at 5:59 pm

Late Fall 2010 was quite a whirlwind of international conferences for us, and I’m just a little late blogging about our wonderful experiences!   With the Winter Solstice and Christmas just behind us, and the New Year looming ever near, it’s still better late than never!

During the past three months I’ve presented the Greenroofs.com  “2010 Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design” in Mexico City, Singapore, and most recently Vancouver, B.C.   To get the ball rolling, I’ll  start with our October outing with detailed coverage of the awesome tours coming in February:

Mexico City

We had the pleasure of attending the WGIN Mexico City World Green Roof Congress  – El Congreso Mundial de Azoteas Verdes México 2010 – in Mexico’s hustling and busting capital  on October 7-9.   Mexico City is the longest continuously-inhabited city in the Western Hemisphere and sits atop the lake basin where the Mexica Indians founded their empire in 1325 and were defeated by the Spanish under Hernan Cortes two centuries later.   The city lies in an immense, volcano-dotted valley, encompassing a population approaching 23 million.

According to our taxi diver, the road we  travelled in and out from the Mexico City International Airport is the 700-year old “La Calzada de Guadalupe”  which was a means to cross the river underneath.   It was then called  Typac which meant sanctuary  in Aztec.

The first time this event (and any other major living architecture event for that matter) was held in a Latin American city, the WGIN Mexico City Congress was hosted by the Mexican Association for Green Roofing –  AMENA  by its acronym in Spanish – together with the Government of Mexico City.   And as  you may know, Tanya Müller Garcia is the president of AMENA (and Vice President of the World Green Infrastructure Network – WGIN), and the main person responsible for this highly successful conference!   Aramis and I were extremely impressed at many facets.

First of all, I believe many people have a wrong impression of Mexico City – in fact we had a few people early on commenting that  they thought it would be unsafe (of course, you have be situationally aware of your surroundings everywhere, regardless).   We found quite the opposite to be true, plus we were pleasantly surprised that although it’s the largest city in the Americas and the world’s third largest metropolitan area by population, after Seoul and Tokyo, the  areas of Mexico City we visited were very clean with lots of greenery, including many public parks, large and small.

 

In fact, we had the beautiful public municipal Alameda Park, a green garden with paved paths and decorative fountains and statues,  just across the street from our hotel.   And everywhere we went, people were extremely  friendly and accommodating, too.

 

As far as the Congress went, Tanya Müller and company is to be commended on the high quality of planning and execution – the location and layout  was spectacular – all it took was one elevator ride in our five-star Hilton Hotel Mexico City Reforma  (with its own rooftop gardens) to get to  the  Session Halls and the Exhibitor Trade Show area.

And they had a huge turnout, young and old  alike with many students  – there were over 750 people in attendance – not bad for the first of its kind in a “new” market!   Of course, greenroofs and greenwalls aren’t new to Latin America, they’ve been developing along with the rest of North America.   In fact, our Top 10 List of Hot Trends for 2010 has “The Greening of Latin America” in the #5 position!  

The Conference had an incredibly lovely Opening Cocktail  Reception  on  the intensive greenroof rooftop garden at the Antiguo Palacio de Ayuntamiento in the Plaza de la Constitución, a beautiful colonial-era Town Hall in the zocalo, or main plaza, located in the historic center where we were greeted by  the  “Grupo Huehuel Tlahtolli Centro de tradición antigua Teotihuacán” – the native group  Huehuel Tlahtolli  of the  Teotihuacán, dressed in full regalia.

Their eloquent spokesperson addressed the ubiquitous developmental practices so common in large urban centers and how we as community members of our planet must come together to further develop sustainable building practices.   He commended the government of Mexico City and AMENA for promoting green infrastructure such as greenroofs and walls, and we then enjoyed a variety of traditional ceremonial  dances and music under a cool, breezy, and starry night.   Mexico City officials spoke about their commitment to greening the city and their “Plan Verde” or Green Plan for its citizens, and then everyone relaxed and mingled in  the party atmosphere.   It was also very nice seeing Tanya’s mom again (we met her last year in Toronto) and meeting her lovely sister, too, seen  below with Manfred Köhler,  President of WGIN, and friend.

The next morning’s Opening Plenary was packed beyond measure as the Mexico City Mayor, Lic. Marcelo Ebrard, welcomed us all to his city.   He is quite a visionary leader speaking to  his commitment of improving our communities, and how we need a healthy relationship with the environment to guarantee sustainability for the next decades.   How do we do this?   By reducing our CO2 emissions and oil dependency, increasing  recycling and related activities and by greening our cities.   Other dignitaries along with WGIN delegates from around the world spoke as well and there were tons of television and newspaper reporters and cameras flashing – very high profile coverage!  

We had a very large selection of wonderful speakers with a decidedly Latin focus – although  our non-Spanish speaking colleagues  had no problem with the language since the sessions were held in both English and Spanish, with simultaneous translations (the glossy programs were in both languages as well).

 

The Congress  had two tracks (Aramis went to one, I the other), which made it easier to choose, yet it was still hard as it was fascinating to hear about all these buildings being integrated with greenery throughout the Caribbean and  Central and South America.  And there were so many awesome presentations!    There were tons of people to assist your every need, and it was very easy to be a speaker and moderator:

The main Latin America themes focused on the need for continued research and monitoring, information sharing, and overall collaborative efforts to further informing the public and increasing awareness of greenroofs and greenwalls.   It was great that there were speakers from the majority of all the Latin American countries –  and each shared their successes and struggles with stories of design, trial and error, and in some cases, community involvement.

Just a  few of  our favorite presentations included:  “A Green Habitat for the City of Mexicali” by Javier Sonsosian Aguilar (architect) which showed a variety of stunning colorful and sinuous  greenroofed structures, many resembling the earth sheltered organic designs of Swiss architect Peter Vetch and undulating forms of Catalonia architect Antoní Gaudí, with a variety of cool features like periscopes, earth tubes and wind turbines; “Roof Gardens Over Steel” by Claudia Harari (founder and director of Harari Landscape Architecture) which was a fascinating case study of collaboration and the  trials and tribulations of greening over the irregular geometric shape of the  sharp steel roof of the Museo de Acero Horno 3 (Steel Museum Oven 3) in Monterrey, Mexico; “New Green Strategies – From Outdoor to Indoor” by Andreas Schmidt (founder of indoorlandscaping) – see photo above – which talked about the need, and continued popularity, of interior greenwalls (also being done a lot in Chile by Ignacio Espoz of Latin Green) and other interior plantscapes; and “Sustainable Buildings, LEED Certification and Green Roofs: A Natural Venture” by Cesar Ulises Treviño, President of  the Green Building Council Mexico  which informed us of the current situation here.

Here’s a couple of other slides:

 

Not all the presentations were connected to Latin America, however.   We also had informative international  updates about research, greening policies, and technical experiences from: Joaquín Sicilia from Sicilia y Asociados Arquitectura and Julián Briz from the Universidád Politécnica de Madrid and Isabel de Felipe from the Ciudad Universitaria in Madrid of Spain; Andrew Clements from Green Roofs Greece of Greece; Matthew Dillon from Green Roofs Australia of Australia;  Suresh Kumar Billore from Vikram University of India; Josh Wells (who was a last minute stand in for Clayton Rugh, who couldn’t make the trip) of Xero Flor America of the U.S.; Sachiko Kikuchi from Meiji University of Japan, François Lassalle from ADIVET “Association des Toitures Vegetales of France”; Steven Peck of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities of Canada; and a very large contingency from Germany including the aforementioned  Andreas Schmidt, Manfred Köhler, President of  WGIN and Vice Dean of the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Applied Sciences Neubrandedburg,  Olga Gorbachevskaya, Hendrikje Schreiter, and Susanne Herfort, all from the Institute for Agricultural and Urban Ecological Projects associated with Humboldt University, Eckart Kramer from the School of Sustainable Development Eberswalde (FH), and Angelika Kurz, architect.

One extremely cool thing was that AMENA had set up live streaming of one of the presentation tracks with a company called COMUNICASION, for all the world to see!   And COMUNICASION produced several videos of the event (in Spanish), which you can see below.   Tanya is interviewed and you can see the Opening Plenary and dignitaries, including the Mayor of Mexico City, here:

Adjacent to the session rooms, the Exhibit Hall had numerous new and interesting companies showcasing their products – plants, complete greenroof systems,  individual components, professional services, and there were quite a few modular offerings as well.

 

 …  along with North American favorites like Xero Flor America (Josh Wells in the center) and rooflite  (Peter Philippi was in there somewhere!), too:

The Congress offered well appointed snacks, beverages and generous (and delicious) lunches, too – just one of the ways to network among our peers.   We were very pleased to reconnect with several people from last year’s CitiesAlive Conference in Toronto, including the wonderful Spanish couple Julián Briz and Isabel de Felipe, seen below,  and Ignacio Espoz of Santiago, Chile.  

We made several new friends as well, including the fantastic Spanish architect Joaquín Sicilia, bubbly Chilean architect and Vice-President of the Botanic Society of Chile, Vicky Rojas, Colombian architect Andrés Ibáñez Gutiérrez (below with Aramis)  and super-friendly Mexican greenroofers Roberto Huber Romo and Oswaldo Zurita (they do greenwalls, too!).

Remember I said people were friendly?   The consierge recommend a fantastic new restaurant a couple of blocks away on the second day – Spuntino, Alameda, owned by a wonderful Argentine-born U.S. citizen named  Moises Drijanski.   The food, wine selection, and atmosphere was utterly fantastic!   This is their third restaurant, and they’re known for an ecclectic mix of offerings, but in particular for their mixed grill and a variety of steaks from Argentina and the U.S., and pizzas!   If you’re in the area, you must visit them at Desarollo Puerta Alameda, Independencia esq. (corner of) Luis Moya, Mexico City (5518-1107).

The closing cocktail had an Indian flair with a variety of local cuisine and music to inspire us to attend the 2011 WGIN World Green Roof Congress  in Indore City, India on October 31 – November 2, where the focus will be on “Green Technology for Green Roof, Green Home and Rain Harvesting to Combat for a Sustainable Future.”   Professor Suresh Billore from WGIN India, below right, invites all of us to join in the education, networking and fun next year!

From a social standpoint, we saw lots of old friends and colleagues and mingled at several opportunities, and the tours were very well planned with a huge  comfortable bus  – the large selection of greenroofs and walls were very varied and extremely fascinating!   And each site  tour guide had intimate,  in-depth knowledge about each project, which made  each experience even more exceptional.   It’s great to see first hand examples of Mexico City’s greening efforts from municipal, corporate, and grass-roots  leaders.

The WGIN Mexico City World Green Roof Congress was a resounding success and important for many reasons.   Our industry continues to grow, even flourish, in this economy and we must continue to push for more government and private support.   Mexico City is a leader with both, and it’s clear that many other Latin American nations are following suit.   Brazil and Mexico have the highest greenroof and greenwall numbers, but Chile, Argentina, Puerto Rico, and Colombia are quickly following suit, with most other Latin American countries involved as well.   AMENA and WGIN made great headway  by offering continuing support to these national members and I think we can expect to see great continued work and success coming from many of these members!

One of the world’s great cosmopolitan capitals, Mexico City offers visitors so many wonderful opportunities for sightseeing, shopping, dining, business, and now, greening!   Unfortunately, we didn’t stay long enough to travel much except for the fun, day long  bus tour, which I’ll talk about later.

I have to say that the two  WGIN  (World Green Infrastructure Network) World Green Roof Congresses that we’ve attended, both last year’s CitiesAlive! in Toronto (read my CitiesAlive! “˜09 Day Tour & Evening Fiesta and  The Inaugural CitiesAlive! – Seeds of Success  posts for more info, as well as Christine’s Reflections on CitiesAlive!  from Christine Thuring) and this one, are an extremely good deal in terms of conference pricing – only $250 which includes two days of excellent speakers, lunch, snacks, the inaugural cocktail, closing cocktail, and the guided greenroof and greenwall  tour.

In conclusion, we enjoyed our visit to Mexico City immensely and wish to thank Tanya and AMENA for their wonderful the hospitality!   Make sure to visit AMENA  where you can learn all about what’s going on in Mexico, as well as see some beautiful photos of the WGIN Mexico City World Green Roof Congress – click on both Galería banners.

On a side note, on our way back home we were also impressed with the final departure lounge in Terminal 2 at the Mexico City International Airport, designed with many sustainable elements by SPACE.   Look at these cool openings in the ceiling which welcome natural daylight inside the lounge, seen above.

That’s it for now, the next post is about  The International Skyrise Greenery Conference  in gorgeous Singapore!  

I hope everyone has a fun time ringing in  in the New Year tonight  safely!   Here’s to a Happy & Green 2011!

~ Linda V.