AUC student jump-starts research on green roof at Startup Village
AUC student Claudia Rot recently presented part of the results of her Capstone project (Bachelor’s thesis) on designing urban green spaces to various representatives of the ERIAFF conference at Startup Village in Science Park. The focus of the visit was to see examples of “Feeding and Greening the City”.
Sustainability in action
With the role of sustainability in cities and architectural design becoming of increasing importance to developers, environmentalists and municipalities alike, Claudia Rot (who just graduated from AUC in July) sought to conduct research on how green space is being effectively implemented in contemporary urban design. While conducting research for her Capstone project titled “Plan Bee: Designing the Ideal Bee Habitat in Urban Green Space,” she noticed that although green roofs were increasing in popularity, the type of plants selected often did not consider or completely neglected local ecosystems.
Green roofs, where plants or other vegetation are planted in soil that is placed atop buildings or other structures, are lauded as having both structural and environmental benefits, including more effective management of storm water, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, more efficiently regulating building temperature and increasing biodiversity.
Plant selection in green roofs
However, during her research, Rot noticed that plants selected for green roofs in the Netherlands are often of varieties or species that are not native to the area. By choosing certain plants based strictly on how they perform on a living roof, there may be unfavourable consequences for the local ecosystem.
Part of Rot’s research, and eventual role during in developing the green roof at Startup Village, was to look for plant species native to the area or already existing in Science Park and determining which types may be suitable to use in the green roof.
Not only did Rot look at which species would benefit the green roof, but also those that would maximize their impact on the environment and local biodiversity at Science Park. Considerations related to plant type included air purification, food sources for local animals, water retention, species resilience and degree of required maintenance, amongst others.
Although Rot will begin studying a Master’s degree in the autumn, she remains interested in the progress being made at Startup Village and will continue to be involved with research on urban sustainability.