Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Summer 2011 - (Page 1)

FROM THE FOUNDER WATER WORRIES WATER SUSTAINS LIFE AND IS A CRITICAL COMPONENT OF URBAN INFRASTRUCTURE – ALSO THE FOCUS OF CITIESALIVE 2011 IN PHILADELPHIA T here is little doubt that our relationship with water is multifaceted and colored by our long-standing love and hate relationship. We hate water when our basement is flooded and dread it as the rivers rise to threaten our homes and communities. We outright fear it when our ship is sinking, or when it mercilessly sweeps across the land obliterating everything in its path. We also have come to fear water because it carries many diseases, still killing millions of people each year. We also love water for it sustains us all on a daily basis. We can chase rubber pucks across its frozen stretches and adore its cascading beauty. Water has a multitude of biophilic characteristics in the sounds it makes, its textures, and its ability to bend and reflect light. While we generally undervalue our water resources, the value of water becomes immeasurable as it becomes scarcer. In our modern cities, we have invested hundreds of billions of dollars in gray infrastructure to carry off our wastes and provide safe drinking water. The billions required to continue this practice is unsustainable in many cities, particularly those which are older. Yet, we still have a fundamental need to protect the supply of clean drinking water, eliminate flooding and restore our urban waterways. From November 30th to December 3rd, we will be presenting CitiesAlive, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities’ 9th Annual Green Roof and Wall Conference with our co-hosts the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and the City of Philadelphia (see Conference Guide pages 7-21). For years, the City of Philadelphia has struggled with the challenge of having approximately 60 percent of its area using combined sewers – meaning that sanitary discharges from buildings mix with stormwater – discharging approximately 1.7 billion gallons of diluted sewage annually into the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. Addressing this challenge requires new ways of thinking and the City of Philadelphia, through its Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Long Term Control Plan, has embarked upon a journey to spend USD $2 billion over the next 25 years to create 9,000 “green acres” within the City. Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters program ( will address this formidable water challenge and revitalize its many communities. Central to that challenge is “Water has no taste, no color, no odor; it cannot be defined, art relished while ever mysterious. Not necessary to life, but rather life itself.” —Antoine De Saint-Exupéry (1900 – 1944) how to redefine the relationship between the people, buildings and land with water. The City’s website states: “We aim to integrate water resource management into the socio-economic fabric of the city by creating amenities for the people who live and work here.” Philadelphia’s Thin Flats (see pages 22) demonstrates a more sustainable approach to this relationship in a residential development at the duplex scale. The residential sector comprises the majority of roof spaces within a city, and it is therefore a significant opportunity for green roofs and walls. But there are challenges – structural loading, roof slopes, shared roof spaces, and the relatively small size of the projects often translates into higher costs. In Philadelphia, we will launch our second course on Integrated Sites and Building Water Management, as we strive to develop a wiser and more professional approach to our water resources and the living architecture which they sustain. As we gather in Philadelphia this fall to redefine our relationship to water in urban areas, we are well advised to remember the words of Benjamin Franklin: “When the well is dry, we know the worth of water!” Sincerely, Steven W. Peck Founder & president, GRHC LIVING ARCHITECTURE MONITOR SUMMER 2011 1

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Summer 2011

Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Summer 2011
Water Worries
Cities Re-Imagined
Design Strategies for Wild Bees
Special Section: Cities Alive 2011 Conference Guide
Thin Flats
Sky Island at the Visionaire
Welcome New Members
New Corporate Members
Professional Calendar
Seven-Year Pitch

Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Summer 2011