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Barcelona assesses opportunities and barriers of green roofs in cities

Barcelona assesses opportunities and barriers of green roofs in cities

Green roofs do not only beautify urban environments, they also make cities healthier and sustainable.  However, they do not come without obstacles. Through a case study in Barcelona, researchers from the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA-UAB) analysed the barriers and opportunities with regard to the implementation of urban agri-green roofs (UAGR) in cities.

For the execution of the case study, the World Café method was used. This method is based on a constructive conversation related to critical questions and collaborative learning to evaluate the personal experience of the stakeholders (architects, public administrators, owners, researchers) involved in the First Green Roof Contest. Participants could share their thoughts and opinions in an open, welcoming, and social environment. 

Results showed a total of 129 barriers and opportunities in social, environmental, legal/administrative, technological/architectural, and economic fields.

The main barriers identified during the study where the lack of information and social cohesion on urban agriculture projects on the roof, the Mediterranean climate, lack of specific regulations and protocols, initial investment and the precondition of the roof and its bearing capacity.

On the other side, the paper also focused on the convenience of green roofs. The outcomes presented the opportunities in the improvement of the quality of life, new specific regulations, profits derived from UAGR projects and aesthetic improvement.

Regarding the stage of the UAGR life cycle at which barriers and opportunities emerge, the results highlight how most opportunities appear during the “use” stage of the roof, whereas barriers do so during the “project” stage. An effort by the government is needed to implement UAGR projects so that the population can perceive the benefits generated in all areas of society in an accurate manner.

The full study is entitled “Perceptions on barriers and opportunities for integrating urban agri-green roofs: a European Mediterranean compact city case” and can be found here.

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