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June 2012
guest feature article

Copenhagen, the Green City for the
Third World Green Roof Congress


By Dusty Gedge
Founder of the World Green Roof Congress and

All Photos Courtesy of the World Green Roof Congress Unless Otherwise Noted





openhagen is the city for green roofs debate and learning this year with the third World Green Roof Congress set for September 18th-21st, 2012.

Click here to learn more or register!

More than 40 expert international speakers and the chance to see first-hand Copenhagen’s wonders of sustainable development await you at the Congress venue - the Tivoli Congress Centre.

With just days to go now before the congress, delegates have until June 30th to beat the deadline for discount on registration!

Photo by Dusty Gedge
Green roof designed for biodiversity in Lewisham; Photo by Dusty Gedge

Hosted by the city of Copenhagen - supported by the Danish Ministry of the Environment, the Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, Realdania, GI, and TFI Group - the scene is set for a congress that has sustainability at its core.

Copenhagen's ambitious goal of being carbon neutral by 2025 means that Green Roofs are embedded as an integral part of political policy.

About Copenhagen

Beautiful Copenhagen

Some key facts:

  • 55% of all Copenhageners commuting by bike on a daily basis and the busiest biking lane in the world with up to 36,000 cyclists daily;

  • won the world best Metro award in 2010 and it runs 24 hours a day;

  • Copenhagen Airport voted as the world’s best low cost airport at the World Low Cost Airlines Congress in London;

  • 63% of Copenhagen’s hotel rooms hold official green certificates, the highest in any capital city;

  • 75% of all food consumed in the city’s institutions is organic – which is a world record;

  • hosts two of the world’s best housing complexes, the VM Mountain and the Windswept 8 House;

  • is home to the happiest people in the world.

Copenhagen and Green Roofs

The city has put green roof implementation at the very heart of its future planning, recognising its role in creating sustainable cities.  The result is that today green roofs are mandatory within the five district plans which Copenhagen has in place to deal with city development.

Copenhagen is a natural setting for the congress, given the city’s commitment to green roof policy and implementation.  Both the city and country have given unprecedented backing to this particular green roof event.  The congress offers a unique platform for all policy makers, architects, designers, urban planners, manufacturers, engineering, environmental and ecological consultants involved in Green Roofs and Walls.

Photo by Dusty Gedge
Flowering green roof in Switzerland; Photo by Dusty Gedge

Denmark is uniquely associated with innovation within the climate change debate.  Impact from the congress will extend beyond Denmark, Scandinavia and Europe to the world's stage.

Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, Frank Jensen, explains the city’s goal:

“For quality of living and working environment, for social equity and economic prosperity, the ‘Smart Cities’ of tomorrow will be green cities, in every sense.  Across the globe, from Portland to Paris, and from Christchurch to here in Copenhagen, Mayoral offices understand that urban biodiversity and green infrastructure are essential elements of any city vision.”

Living roof in Canada; Photo by Dusty Gedge

The Congress Programme (19th & 20th September)

The Mayor of Copenhagen will welcome and host delegates to the pre congress reception at the Copenhagen City Hall on the 18th.

This will be followed by a chance to network over dinner.

The two day congress will feature keynote addresses from:

  • Architect Emilio Ambasz speaking on ‘The Value of Vegetation and Soil within the Urban Realm’;

    Emilio Ambasz
  • Michael Berkshire, City of Chicago’s Green Projects Administrator speaking on ‘Policy and Implementation of Green Roofs in Chicago’:

    Michael Berkshire, left.
  • Shirley Ling, Head of Skyrise Greenery National Parks Board speaking on ‘Singapore’s Green Roofs and Walls’:

    Shirley Ling
  • Paul Kephart, President and CEO of Rana Creek speaking on ‘Large Scale Applications of Living Architecture’:

    Paul Kephart
  • Bruce Hemstock, Principal of PWL Partnership speaking on ‘The Ideology of Ecological Overlays in Urban Conditions:

Bruce Hemstock

Other renowned experts speaking at the congress include:

  • Martin Lidegaard – Danish Minister for Climate, Energy & Building:

    Martin Lidegaard
  • Tina Saaby – City Architect for Copenhagen:

Tina Saaby

In addition, a unique Mayoral Panel discussion now has confirmed:

  • Mayor of Copenhagen - Frank Jensen, Copenhagen:

    Lord Mayor of Copenhagen,
    Frank Jensen
  • Deputy Mayor of Paris - Fabienne Giboudeaux, France:

    Fabienne Giboudeaux
  • Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Environment Norway - Unn Ellefsen, Norway:

    Unn Ellefsen
  • Mayor Sam Adam, Portland Oregon USA (invited).

Alongside, parallel sessions focus on key themes, including Water; Architecture; Plants & Biodiversity; Landscapes & Master Planning; Hot & Arid; Food Finance and Contracts, and Energy.

The Congress welcomes back 2008 & 2010 chair Jim McClelland to his third event, and day two will be chaired by the esteemed Professor Manfred Kohler:

Photo Courtesy World Green Infrastructure Network
Left: Jim McClelland;
Right: Manfred Kohler, Photo Courtesy WGIN.

The congress will bring together policy makers, architects, designers, urban planners, manufacturers, engineering, environmental and ecological consultants from all around the world and will present practical information on the cost, savings and benefits of green roofs.

The Congress Case Study Tours Malmö and Copenhagen

Neighbors Malmö and Copenhagen

Either side of the Congress, there are opportunities to participate in the Congress Case Study tours.


Photo Source: NORDREGIO

Beautiful Malmö; Photo Source: NORDREGIO

Sweden is a country long admired for its natural beauty and eco-friendly business sense, and respect towards nature and stewardship of its land and water is evident in municipal measures.  Delegates will be taken to two sites:

• Augustenborg, developed through an initial partnership between MKB Housing Company and the City of Malmö, construction for the Augustenborg Botanical Roof Garden started in 1999 and is also home of the International Green Roof Institute.

This unique botanical garden covers 9500 m², and is a place for beauty, inspiration, education and research.

Augustenborg Botanical Roof Garden Overview
Augustenborg Botanical Roof Garden fountain, left, and plots, right.

• Emporia, Europe’s most spectacular and Scandinavia’s largest shopping centre, this mega-mall promises to deliver an exciting shopping experience well-beyond that which you are used to.

The roof supports yet another spectacular and green project that will be converted entirely into green space, about the size of four football fields.

Photo by TFI Group
Photo by TFI Group
Emporia; Photo Credits: TFI Group


Photo Credit: Per Malmos
Danish National Archive; Photo Credit: Per Malmos

Planning has transformed into reality.  Projects such as the Danish National Archive, the Big Windswept 8 House, SEB Bank and Tivoli Hotel show the range of developments already taking theory on-board and making it real.

• The National Archive shows how a roof terrace can become a ‘green street’ to link parts of the city, and features a public garden and cycle track;

Photo Courtesy of TFI Group
Photo by Dorthe Romo
Danish National Archive; Photo Credits: TFI Group and Dorthe Romo

• The Windswept 8 House combines living and working with 61,000 square metres of residential, office and retail space with a sloping public path taking people from ‘street-level to penthouse-level’;

Photo by Jens Lindhe
8 House under construciton; Photo by Dragor Luftfoto
Photo by Jens Lindhe
The spectacular 8 House; Photo Credits by Jens Lindhe and Dragor Luftfoto

• The Tivoli Hotel’s green roof incorporates a garden and also enables rainwater collection to ensure optimum impact of solar radiation.

Photo by TFI Group
Photo by Dorthe Romo
Photo by TFI Group
Tivoli Hotel Green Roof; Photo Credits: Dorthe Romo and TFI Group

Delegates will be able to visit the above sites on the Case Study Tours taking place on the 18th and the 21st September and they will see for themselves what is being achieved as the cities prepare themselves for the future, turning the urban grey to urban green.

Photo by Dusty Gedge
Biodiverse green roof  in Copenhagen; Photo by Dusty Gedge

The World Green Roof Congress takes place in Copenhagen from September 18th-21st, 2012!

To find out more – including how to register and take advantage of early bird discount delegate rates by Saturday, June 30 – visit

Dusty Gedge

Publisher's Notes:  To avoid confusion, there are two organizations who are using the title "World Green Roof Congress" for their international conferences, and the World Green Infrastructure Network.  The first World Green Roof Congress was held in London by and CIRIA in 2008.  Both Congresses are highly worthy, specialized events held in different cities cross the globe.

Last September 2011, we were honored for Dusty to have participated in's inaugural 2011 Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit.

Read my Sky Gardens Blog post about it, and see Dusty Gedge's great participation in the wonderful panel session "Biodiversity and Greenroofs" Panel Presentation along with Christine Thuring, Nathalie Baumann, and Gary Grant on the GreenroofsTV channel on YouTube.

See the following profiles in The Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database: 8 House, Mountain Dwellings (VM Bjerget), and Augustenborg Botanical Roof Garden.

Dusty Gedge
London, UK

Dusty is the founder of the World Green Roof Congress and  He is also the current President of the European Federation of Green Roof Associations (EFB).  The EFB is currently involved with a pan-European Green Roof Training project, which as President he is taking an active role in.  Dusty has written a number of seminal papers, technical reports on green roofs and helped campaign and develop the London Green Roof Policy.

He is recognised as an international speaker at conferences throughout the world.  Recently he has been invited to Australia, New Zealand, Colorado, Portugal, Greece and Turkey.  Although he has a breadth of knowledge on green roofs, he remains passionate about the benefits of green roofs to urban biodiversity, which stems from his work as a nature conservationist in London.

Contact Dusty Gedge at: or WGRC related at:; t- 0044 207 808 5617.

The opinions expressed by our Guest Feature writers and editors may not necessarily reflect the beliefs of, and are offered to our readers to simply present individual views and experiences and open a dialogue of further discussion, debate and research.  Enjoy, and if you have a particular comment, please contact the author or send us an email to:


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