The 2017 Virtual Summit featured these videos from ground-breaking environmental
designers, leaders of industry, government, and academia from across the globe:


Field Trip with Patrick Blanc in West Sumatra

Patrick Blanc, PhD

Engaging in scientific missions since 1972, Patrick Blanc searches the tropical jungles, temperate forests, and exotic, complex biomes of the world in discovery of beautiful and hardy plants that naturally grow in a variety of degrees of vertical and horizontal circumstances with very or no soil whatsoever. Many of these are candidates for his community of plants embedded into his Vertical Gardens, or le Mur Végétal, renown for their multi-abundance of species - many native and all adaptive - to the changing temperatures, light orientations, humidity levels, and other physical characteristics with a common cultural and historical heritage which could thrive on a building's facade. His most recent journey took Patrick to the tropics of West Sumatra in December, 2016.

The Green Over the Gray

Emilio Ambasz

We must create alternative images proposing a better life to guide our actions in the future if we do not wish to perpetuate the present. I believe that any architectural project not attempting to propose new, or better, modes of existence is unethical. This task may stagger the imagination and paralyse hope, but we cannot subtract ourselves from its pursuit. The Western notion of Man's creations as distinct and separate entities - in contrast with Nature - has exhausted its intellectual and ethical capital. An emerging man-made garden is overtaking the one we were originally given. We must create an a-tectonic notion of architecture, where architecture is conceived as an integral component of that emerging Man-made Nature we are willingly, as well as unwittingly, creating. I see the task of the architect to be that of reconciling our man-made Nature with the organic one we have been given.

The Power of a Plant

Stephen Ritz

Nothing excites me more than the green revolution I am witnessing across cites, suburbs and even the deserts of the world on a daily basis: I call this THE POWER OF A PLANT. Literally and figuratively, this reconnection with nature - and the inherent wonder and majesty of a seed well planted - has been transforming mindsets and landscapes as well as educational and health outcomes - for people and the planet with a triple bottom line orientation that helps enable every organism to reach and fully express their G-d given genetic potential; how glorious! Breathe deep one and all! Now more than ever, given health, obesity, climate and resource crises, the need to incorporate and embrace plants and all living things into our daily routine brings add value to all our lives and to our entire planet. It is my belief that connecting people with nature and incorporating plants and by extension living ecosystems - into every aspect of our built environment - is the cornerstone of restorative and regenerative planning and our civic responsibility. In a world obsessed with adding days to our lives, we can add life to our days!

Short Videos

Augustenborg's Botanical Green Roof Garden

Jonatan Malmberg & Tobias Emilsson, PhD

Augustenborg Botanical Green Roof Garden in Malmö was the first botanical roof garden in the world. It has been developing its content and direction for more than 15 years on a total area of more than 10,000 m2. This video will tell you a bit more about our recent projects and development in Augustenborg, Malmö, Sweden and Scandinavia.

Balclutha Civic Square Green Wall – The Southernmost Green Wall in the World

Natural Habitats

Located on the southeast coast of the South Island of New Zealand, the Balclutha Civic Square Green Wall is the southernmost green wall in the world. The lush planted wall has been a real hit with the locals and school kids use it as a teaching resource.

Green Bronx Machine - Our Impact

Green Bronx Machine

Healthy, fresh food is not readily available here in the poorest congressional district in America - but the Green Bronx Machine is wrapping schools, teachers and children around a garden.

Green Bronx Machine - The Power of a Plant: Our Classroom

Green Bronx Machine

Globally acclaimed teacher, Stephen Ritz, author of "The Power of a Plant" shows how in one of the nation’s poorest communities, his students thrive in school and in life by growing, cooking, eating, and sharing the bounty of their green classroom.

Green Bronx Machine's Food for Others Farm in the Bronx Grows Food for Recovering Cancer Patients

Green Bronx Machine

On a reclaimed Bronx street, a local farm is blooming. Every year 5000 pounds of food is grown for others. This year the harvest is being donated to recovering cancer patients who are food insecure. Thanks to our partnership with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Heritage Square: The Making of a Rooftop Courtyard

Recover Green Roofs

Recover Green Roofs worked with Gatto Development to transform a rooftop common space on Heritage Square, a mixed-use building in New Canaan, Connecticut, into a living courtyard.

Project Smartroof 2.0

Joris G.W.F. Voeten

Project Smartroof 2.0 is a 4700 sq.ft. demonstration and research blue-green roof system aiming at maximizing rainwater capture, storage and capillary (0-energy) irrigation. The goal of this blue green roof system is to maximize its urban cooling capacity by means of plant evapotranspiration.

The Land in the Sky: The Rooftop Garden at Native Child and Family Services of Toronto

Kelsey Carriere

This film depicts the extraordinary potential for designing and utilizing green roofs using Indigenous knowledge and intent as a guide, through an exploration of the Native Child and Family Services rooftop garden in Toronto, Canada.

Top Ryde City Living, an Oasis in the Sky

Taylor Brammer Landscape Architects

Top Ryde City Living saw the transformation of an existing concrete carpark roof into an urban oasis. A model for sustainable urban development, this project incorporates sustainable materials including recycled timber and 100% of the landscape is irrigated from rainwater harvesting.

Yes on I-300 for the Denver Green Roof Initiative

Denver Green Roof Initiative

Where is the next green roof hotbed? It could be Denver! The all-volunteer, grassroots group Denver Green Roof Initiative has succeeded in placing a citizen-initiated ordinance on the ballot for Denver voters this November 7. Learn Why you should and Vote Yes on I-300 for the Denver Green Roof Initiative!


All We See is Green: Intensive Green Roofs and Urban Farming in NYC

Zaro Bates

After an inspirational season serving as an apprentice at Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm in 2013, Zaro Bates sought to create a rooftop farming model for the residential context. Her talk delves into her journey to develop this model in her role, first as consultant and then as Farmer in Residence, for Staten Island-Urby, a 500-unit residential complex on the North Shore of Staten Island. The Urby farm consists of a 4,500 sq. foot, intensive green roof market garden, and a 20-hive rooftop apiary.

Credits for Stormwater Management: A Survey of North American Cities With a Focus on Portland, OR

Adrienne Aiona, PE & Henry Stevens

Adrienne will present Crediting Ecoroofs for Stormwater Management in Portland, OR. Henry will present A Survey of Green Roof Design Criteria Affecting Stormwater Detention and Retention Characteristics.

Design, Publishing, and Widespread Use of the Children’s Activity Book: Growing UP in the City: A Book About Green Roofs

Kelly Ksiazek-Mikenas & Olyssa Starry, PhD

Green roofs are increasingly being built on a variety of buildings where people of all ages can appreciate them, including hospitals, museums, and schools. There are a number of terrific resources available for designing and understanding the dynamics of green roofs, but very few books have been written for the younger audience that is also curious about this new technology. Seeing a need for a fun and engaging resource that would help children learn about the benefits of green roofs, we wrote and self-published an activity book. Growing UP in the City: A Book About Green Roofs guides young readers through the journey of two bumble bees as they travel through a city and learn about green roofs. Along the way, there are activities including matching, a word search, a crossword puzzle, drawing, designing an experiment, a board game, and plenty of coloring and reading.

Elevated Greenery in Mega Projects

Aslan Jonoubi

Designing green roofs and/or green walls in large scale projects is sometimes very different rather than using these features in small scale ones. The complexity of a mega project is really high, and designers should respond to many issues at the same time. Meanwhile, applying green roofs and green walls to the projects may increase this complexity and many clients may not agree to that. One of the most challenging factors is how to design the project to be financially feasible, as the cost of creating greenery will be high. Many of our clients (mostly in Middle East countries) worry about this matter and it is very important for the architect to justify his/her proposal at the very initial process of design. Another challenge, particularly in arid climates, is how to respond to the water issue.

Expanded Use for the Green Roof (A US Government Perspective)


The U.S. General Services Administration is the owner of an array of planted roofs on federal buildings. This presentation will look at GSA's inventory to pass on some of the key lessons learned for longevity, maintenance, and performance. We will then delve into the benefits that GSA utilizes from planted roofs which is backed up by research, studies, and performance metrics. We will explore how new legislation is expanding the use of plants and opening up our rooftops to a diverse habitat. We will close out with a view of where we may be going in the very near future and how planted roofs can play a role in a vision of net 0.

Food Production and the Built Environment: How Local Can You Go? CEA Panel

Christopher G. Wark & Richard Nelson

The idea of growing fruits and vegetables on or in a building has been around as long as construction has existed, but renewed interest in serious agricultural production within cities has inspired a number of innovations in the integration of small-scale farming into new and existing building designs. Chris Wark and Richard Nelson examine some of these concepts and trends in CEA and urban farming with an emphasis on technical advancements and issues. Topics covered in their conversation include: awareness and benefits of urban farming; using CEA and rooftop farming to make food available to those who need it the most; energy and CEA; and the future of urban agriculture.

FOOD ROOF Farm: Grow Food, Grow Community

Mary E. Ostafi, LEED AP

Rooftop farms are sprouting up in cities around the world. While producing healthy food for local communities is a driving force behind this trend, Urban Harvest STL expands upon this idea and is growing food connections and bridging the gap between food production and food security at their FOOD ROOF Farm in downtown St Louis, Missouri.

Fresh Herbs in the Kitchen: How to Construct a Small Scale Aquaponics System for the Home

Robert Cameron, PhD

Biofilters such as living roofs, living walls, and constructed wetlands have many applications for the outdoor built environment. Opportunities for indoor applications exist but require special considerations. Dr. Robert D. Cameron has designed and constructed exterior and interior biofilters for many applications on several continents. Here he provides a step by step “how to” on constructing an integrated interior system comprised of a living wall and an aquarium to provide culinary herbs for the kitchen. Ultimately, the integrated system provides a balanced small scale ecosystem practical for residential applications.

From Planning to Action, Design and Social Commitment

Diana Wiesner

Beyond the natural landscape's crucial role in shaping our territorial identity, it also makes up a big share of our cultural and ecological heritage. Within this patrimony, urban public space is what helps our city's natural endowments shine. Urban public spaces have their own, unique spatial structures and ecosystems, and should therefore come equipped with eco-systemic provisions, regulations and public and cultural services; all of which boost civic solidarity, equality and culture; and, in turn, lead to fluent public/private relations and better human health---both physical and emotional. Eco-urbanism and Green Infrastructure-based solutions will succeed if backed by new, local, nature-based urban initiatives built on designs and approaches that aim to bring society together on the issues of how best to consume water, air, food; regulate temperature and provide rest and recreation for all of its members.

Green Roofs Create Oases in the City: Hong Kong

C.Y. Jim, PhD

C.Y. Jim is Chair, Professor of the University of Hong Kong, and has designed an installed a lush Sky Woodland Greenroof at the CLP substation in Tseung Kwan O. Follow him as he provides information on research and walks through this project with greenroofs and greenwalls. Also hear commentary from HKU Dean Burns about the importance of preparing students for public service.

Green Tea 4 Two with Patrick Carey & Jörg Breuning

Jörg Breuning & Patrick Carey, GRP

Proper function and long-term reliability of Green Roofs in North America is increasingly questioned. While there is a flood of new products, and new and more colorful brochures, the quality, healthy driven plants, and simple-solid function of Green Roofs seems further away than ever. "Green Tea 4 Two with Patrick Carey & Jörg Breuning" promises to be an entertaining, inspirational, and informative discussion between two long time experts of the U.S. greenroofing scene.

Greening the Vertical City – the Bosco Verticale and a Look into the Future of Urban Living

Laura Gatti

Our cities are the result of the coalescence of multiple projects, at different scales, that spread onto the territory with different impacts; this gradual expansion has high environmental costs and must be improved if we don't want to become its future victims. As an answer to this concern, a new way to design and realize living buildings has been born: buildings covered by hundreds of trees and thousands of shrubs, bringing nature where there's more need of it. Come and see the Bosco Verticale, or the Vertical Forest in Milan, Italy.

Hardware and Software - Balancing the Ingredients for the Middle East

Eyal Mirelman

Building vegetation is a fascinating subject. The accumulated knowledge around the world is vast and constantly growing, today more than ever. Needless to say, it’s a game changer when implementing on a large scale in our urban environments. Israel. The Middle East. Home. Living and working in a harsh environment, in so many ways. Our physical surrounding, sitting on the verge of a huge desert and the Mediterranean sea is our main professional challenge. Our second challenge would be our market. With modern information flow and image streaming from around the world, the market (our customers) has a lot of interest but still very little demand. We have traveled the world, to learn and search for solutions and been inspired by individuals and organizations who have paved the road for development. It took us years to understand that what works well in North America and Europe does not (and will not) necessarily perform the same in the desert.

RootDOWN Green Wall at Denver International Airport

Leila Tolderlund, LEED AP, GRP

This presentation features a fun and creative green wall at restaurant RootDOWN at Denver International Airport integrating a carefully delineated interaction of LIVING plant material and ART created by incorporating a beautiful composition of re-used tin can lids. This presentation highlights design process (including restaurant crew collaboration), radical methods employed during implementation to accommodate design form and function, and survey research after implementation to measure metrics of success, including: Social, Environmental, and Economic Benefits and Re-use of Materials.

Sustainable Stormwater Management – a Landscape Driven Approach to Planning and Design

Thomas W. Liptan, FASLA

Vegetative systems designed to manage stormwater are finding favor with municipalities in many cities throughout the world. Raingardens, green streets and ecoroofs manage rain and stormwater, and also provide numerous other benefits. Portland constructed its first green stormwater project in 1989 and was recognized as the leader in green infrastructure implementation. Follow green infrastructure specialist Tom Liptan as he explores projects throughout the city.

The Design of Green Roofs in the Urban Public Realm

John L. Wong, FASLA, FAAR

The design of roof gardens are important in providing both vital function for social, health and recreation requirements for open space in urban centers. More so now than ever, roof gardens are becoming seamlessly integrated into our densely developed city centers. SWA chairman and designer John Wong discusses the evolution of the firm’s green roof designs over 40 years. John designed the landscapes around the world’s three tallest buildings, which he details in this 33-minute video.

The Rooftop Growing Guide: Vegetables, Herbs and Flowers on the Rooftop Landscape

Annie Novak

In 2009, the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm on top of Broadway Stages’ north Brooklyn, New York soundstage opened as the first commercial greenroof vegetable farm in the country. Head farmer Annie Novak discusses the successes and challenges of taking ground-level growing experience to the roof, from growing healthy, robust vegetables in greenroof soil to managing honeybees, volunteers, and finding resources in the urban environment to support a growing farm. In 2016, Novak published “The Rooftop Growing Guide: How to Transform Your Roof into a Garden or Farm,” a compendium of flower, herb, and vegetable growing advice from her own experiences as well as other rooftop agriculturalists across the country working in greenroofs, containers, and with hydroponics. In addition to her own experience in New York City, Novak will also discuss their strategies for success.

The Second City – Elevated, Grounded, Inspired

Charlie Miller, PE & Laura Hansplant, RLA, LEED AP

Roofmeadow designs landscapes on structure and elegant, elevated public parks which are supported by innovative rainwater collection and retention strategies. Urban plant communities are sustained by runoff captured from adjacent impervious surfaces often resulting in zero runoff and a reduction in the use of potable water. Rainfall collected from impervious surfaces allows paved areas to fulfill programmatic, performance and ecological imperatives. Charlie Miller, PE and Laura Hansplant, ASLA will discuss the landscape architectural and engineering design that make Cira Green in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the LeFrak Lakeside Center in Prospect Park, New York great public spaces. We will explore how new legislation is expanding the use of plants and opening up our rooftops to a diverse habitat. We will close out with a view of where we may be going in the very near future and how planted roofs can play a role in a vision of net 0.

WHY Green Roofs – An Architect’s Perspective

Meg Needle, AIA, GRP, LEED AP B+C, CDT

Our behaviors are guided by logic but decisions are ultimately made by an ephemeral part of the brain. That is WHY influence is inspired by passion. So WHY should greening of our built environment be a passion? I am an architect who is firmly grounded in science and technology. Putting that aside, my presentation attempts to inspire by communicating from the heart WHY I believe greenroofs are an important piece in the puzzle for sustainable development.