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September 2012
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10th Anniversary - CitiesAlive Returns to Chicago To Celebrate and Plan Ahead


By Steven Peck, GRP, Honorary ASLA
Founder and President of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities,
Co-Founder, Green Infrastructure Foundation

All Photos Courtesy of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities Unless Otherwise Noted






Wow!  It's hard to believe that its been 10 years since our first gathering in Chicago, when 400 green roof enthusiasts came together from around the world to share their passion and knowledge of green roofs.  Since then, we've laid some very important foundations for the industry, which enjoyed an amazing 115% growth rate last year.

At CitiesAlive, we will gather at the Congress Plaza Hotel in Chicago once more, celebrate all that we have accomplished together, and lay plans for the future growth of this industry on October 17-20 2012.

Chicago is beautiful in mid-October and highlights of CitiesAlive include the following:

Great Hotel Rate

The historic Congress Hotel in downtown Chicago.

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) has secured a limited number of rooms from the Congress Plaza Hotel at a fantastically low rate, $179.00.  Call 312.427.3800 by October 1st to take advantage of this offer.  The Congress Plaza is located across from Grant Park opposite Michigan Ave, right in the downtown area for easy walking to many destinations.

Amazing Walking and Bus Tours

Chicago City Hall; Photo Courtesy of Chicago City Hall.

We have several awards of excellence winning projects in Chicago and some of the oldest extensive green roofs, like Chicago's City Hall, that will be available for a visit.  Chicago boasts more than 5 million square feet of green roofs installed so there is much to learn from their experience.

New Courses

Just a few courses are Introduction to Integrated Water Management for Buildings and Sites by Jeffrey Bruce, GRP, FASLA, LEED, ASIC; Introduction to Rooftop Agriculture by Ben Flanner; Advanced Green Roof Maintenance by Nathan Griswold, ASLA, GRP; and Green Walls 101: Systems Overview and Design (2nd Ed) by Melissa Daniels.

We've updated our popular Rooftop Agriculture Course taught by Ben Flanner, President, of Brooklyn Grange, in New York City, and we will be launching an new course in our series on Integrated Water Management for Buildings and Sites, focused on detailed design of water harvesting, cistern sizing and selection.  No water = no green roofs, or landscaping for that matter, and this series developed and taught by Jeffrey L. Bruce continues to break new ground in design for "net zero" water.  Our recently updated Green Walls course will be taught by Melissa Daniels, Plant Connections Inc., and the increasingly important subject of Maintenance of Green Roofs will be tackled by Andy Creath, Green Roofs of Colorado.

These half day courses are a great way for Green Roof Professionals (GRPs) to expand their knowledge and earn their continuing education credits.

Opening Plenary and Trade Show

The CitiesAlive Opening Plenary and Trade Show will feature an in-depth discussion about the future of the Living Architecture Industry with special guests Nancy C. Sommerville, Executive Vice President/CEO of ASLA and Paul Farmer, CEO of the American Planning Association.

We have the largest green roof and wall trade show in the world, a great opportunity to see the latest in new product development, obtain new sources of materials and labour, joint venture and network.  There is some booth space remaining - contact Rebecca Black at (416) 971 4494 ext 226 or

Rise of Living Architecture: Commemorative Edition Book Launch

Book signing on the Trade Show floor.

This new full color table top book will be made available for signature by many of the more than 50 Industry Leaders whose work and ideas are profiled within its pages.  This limited edition resource is a great way to celebrate the amazing growth of our industry and its future potential, while learning from many of the people who have made it happen over the last decade.

Expert Speakers

Our speakers are selected by multi-disciplinary committees and there is a lot of new research, economic performance, and design emerging that you do not want to miss.  See the CitiesAlive website ( to read about the more than 50 expert presenters.

There are a number of sessions that will focus on project life cycle - from design, to construction and ongoing maintenance, and will feature lessons learned and best practices.

Just some of the tour spots to experience on our Chicago tours.

Join the Conversation - Help Shape the Industry

We also feature important discussion panels that focus on emerging issues and trends within the industry, including such topics as "Green Roof and Wall Performance Standards" with co-chairs Lois Vitt Sale, Senior VP, Wight and Company and David Yocca, Principal, Conservation Design Forum.

Over the past year GRHC has been convening a number of committees to work through the metrics for a living architecture performance tool and there will be important opportunities to discuss the working draft framework in Chicago.

Network and Celebrate

Spertus Institute.

There will be parties and receptions!  Join the opening reception on the Trade Show floor and our Local Host Committee Reception on Thursday evening, October 18, at the Spertus Institute, a LEED Silver rated building with a 6,700 square foot green roof overlooking Grant Park, Millennium Park and Lake Michigan.

In the immortal words of Bilbo Baggins, "It will be a night to remember!"

The crowing networking event is our Awards of Excellence Reception where we celebrate the most innovative and well conceived green roof and wall projects.

CitiesAlive, if you've never been, is unlike any other conference.  Tap into the energy, passion and enthusiasm of our 10th Anniversary when our co-host, The City of Chicago, and Green Roofs for Healthy Cities come together to put on a show like no other!

Visit to learn more and register to learn about the future of green infrastructure and earn credits through LA CES, GBCI, AIA CES, APLD, RCI, and GRHC.  But don't delay - save up to $169 if you register now for our 10th Anniversary Conference.

The Early Bird Delegate Registration Deadline is September 15th.

Steven Peck

Steven Peck
Founder and President of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities and
Co-Founder, Green Infrastructure Foundation
Toronto, Canada

Steven Peck is the founder and president of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC), a membership-based industry association developing the green (vegetative) roof and wall industry in North America.  GRHC’s mission is to increase the awareness of the economic, social and environmental benefits of green roofs and green walls, and other forms of living architecture through education, advocacy, professional development and celebrations of excellence.  Visit  for more information.

Contact Steven at:,, and
Tel: 416.971.4494 (233).

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