Concrete jungle could become actual jungle

Rooftops in the CBD could be transformed into green gardens under the City of Melbourne’s Rooftop Project powered by the Urban Forest Fund.

The council has released a digital map, identifying rooftops’ suitability for intensive or extensive planting, existing green rooftop adaptations, cool roofs and solar panel installations.

According to the analysis, the total area and the proportion of potential green roofs within the CBD is among the largest in the municipality.

Map statistics show 236 rooftops in the City of Melbourne are suitable (with low or no constraint) for heavy vegetated landscapes with a deep layer (more than 20cm) of soil.

Some 328 rooftops are ideal for lightweight vegetated landscape with a shallow layer of soil (less than 20cm).

Rooftops of CBD buildings such as Melbourne Central Shopping Centre, Flinders Street Station and the County Court are identified as suitable for heavy vegetation.

As of 2015, there were 38 green roof and 40 rooftop gardens within the municipality.

Rooftops in central Melbourne make up 880 hectares of space, which is five times the size of Royal Park.  The council says it aims to create 6000sqm of green roofs, the equivalent of 10 tennis courts.

It will allocate $1.2 million to the Urban Forest Fund and aims to grow this to $10 million through contributions from the private sector.

“This initiative, to stimulate greening of private property, which represents 73 per cent of land in our municipality, is the next frontier,” Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said.

“Green infrastructure is fundamental to help cities respond to the challenges of climate change, urban heat, flooding and population growth,” he said.

The Urban Forest Fund also includes planting trees, building parks, greening walls and facades and stormwater projects.

The council will match funding from the private sector with extra funding for a greening project.

Green roofs can help cool the city, improve building thermal performance, diversify urban ecology and reduce stormwater volumes.

Existing rooftop solar panels can benefit from installation of greeneries. Plants can improve the efficiency of solar panels through maintaining surrounding temperature at an optimal level for energy regeneration.

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