Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2009 - (Page 20)

POLICY: CITIES LEADING BY EXAMPLE BEYOND THE DEBATE MINNEAPOLIS’ NEW 113,000-SQUARE-FOOT EXTENSIVE GREEN ROOF ON THE TARGET CENTER IS JUST ONE, VISIBLE EXAMPLE OF HOW FAR THE CITY HAS COME IN SUPPORT OF GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE By Kate Murray Minneapolis Green Development: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency – stormwater management through Low Impact Development: Images courtesy of Kestrel Design Group, Inc., ©2009 Bergeson Photography s the City of Minneapolis puts the finishing touches on its latest green roof this fall – a massive 113,000-square-foot extensive green roof on the Target Center – one planner views the City’s largest project a symbol of how far it has come in terms of green infrastructure policy. Approval of the Target Center’s green roof, in contrast to the more sceptical atmosphere of a few years ago, went smoothly and without controversy – a positive sign that “we are now beyond the debate about the benefits of green roofs and see this [Target Center] as part of a larger, general acceptance of the technology,” says Barbara Sporlein. In addition to being the current director of planning with the Department of Community Planning and Economic Development for the City of Minneapolis, Sporlein was also the local cochair of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities’ 5th Annual International Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities Conference, Awards and Trade Show in 2007. The watershed conference, which drew nearly 1,000 international guests, featured a multidisciplinary array of presentations, workshops, tours and speakers. Conference committee members recognized the need to raise awareness around all aspects of green roofs, and encourage attendance from a diversity of backgrounds, including builders, manufacturers, policy, planning and academia types. Participants were invited to take part in green roof tours, each of which brought together the project developers, architects and installers, to share their perspective on the objectives, challenges, and various elements of green roofs. “This multidisciplinary approach,” says Sporlein, “allowed for a full, lifecycle discussion to emerge, from ‘Here is why I chose to include a green roof’, to ‘Here is how I actually put it in.’” Michael Krause, president of Kandiyohi Development Partners and vice-chair of the GRHC Board of Directors, noted that the 2007 green roofs conference was effective at bringing together private and public industry through a series of stakeholder dialogue sessions which, he says, “strengthened the discussion and created a space for participants to share experiences and ask questions of a diverse peer group.” Since hosting the conference, the City of Minneapolis has since updated its comprehensive plan to ensure green roofs are a component of a sustainable future. A new initiative is also in the works to revise zoning codes for larger development sites: in exchange for flexible regulation and design standards, the city is requiring more public amenities including green roofs and living walls to be incorporated into the developments. Non-mandatory standards and guidelines pertaining to the known type, depth and plant species requirements for successful green roofs in the Minneapolis area have been introduced, along with a supportive stormwater management utility fee credit. The stormwater mitigation incentive program is available to those projects demonstrating best-practice green infrastructure solutions such as green roof, bioswales and rain gardens – a leadingedge policy that could well prove to be a viable model for other cities, says Krause. With all of this policy support, it is no wonder Minneapolis is experiencing a surge in innovative green infrastructure projects including a 5,800-square-foot extensive green roof on the historic City Hall, completed in 2008, not to mention the crowning roof atop the Target Center – and Sporlein only expects the number of green roofs and walls to continue to grow, especially if the industry is successful at continuing to demonstrating the long-term success and overall savings of such projects. While Krause could not make a direct statement about the link between the growing Minneapolis green roof industry and the GRHC conference held there in 2007, he did say in reference to new low-impact development legislation recently passed by the State of Minnesota, that, “things like this just don’t happen in isolation.” D Kate Murray, B.Sc., M.Sc. is based in Calgary, Alberta where she currently works as a public program coordinator for the City of Calgary, developing programs that aim to encourage water conservation. LEARN MORE Minnesota green roof directory: City of Minneapolis Stormwater Management for Development and Redevelopment Ordinance: City of Minneapolis Sustainability Plan:

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2009

Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2009
City Power
Cities Alive!
Welcome to Toronto
Part 2 of 2: Risk-Reduction Tools
Toward Bird-Friendly Living Architecture
Cities Leading by Example
Q&A: On the Roof With...
7 Million-Square-Feet
Seeding the Future
A Green Roof Capitol City
From "Beantown" To "Greentown"
Beyond the Debate
A More Beautiful Baltimore
Policy Support
Seattle's Green Factor
Understanding The Green Roof Evapotranpiration Process
GHRC Professional Development Calendar
Welcome New Corporate Members
The Girl Scout Knows Best

Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2009