Vertical Gardens & Green Walls

As one of the newest trends in the world of sustainable design and construction, vertical gardens — also known as living walls or green walls — are creating quite a stir across the globe. Hear what industry experts have to say about this new trend:

 

  • Faced with climate and biodiversity challenges, cities can no longer wait, speculate or explore. They have to create a new urban model where nature’s place will be strengthened throughout the city and, in particular, on buildings. A host of different techniques - such as green walls that act as thermal insulators and absorb carbon particles, urban agriculture on rooftops contributing to the urban ecology and shared gardens reducing heat islands - are all aiding to revegetate our buildings and environments. Greening the city also fully participates in the creation of new social dynamics between peoples and territories.
    Pénélope Komitès, Deputy Mayor - Green Spaces, Nature & Biodiversity, The City of Paris
     

 

  • "There is a global trend with green walls and farming. Well, first of all green is just a color, and it enables the criticism of “green washing”. In my opinion, we should instead talk about life quality; living instead of surviving. A city is an eco-system, and if you want to solve a livable city, you need to play with all the important parts such as climate, social connections, scale, mobility, nature and sustainability. I you make a vertical farm in a public space it should bring life quality to the city, besides producing food. A public urban farm could bring public ownership and social interaction. Urban spaces are vital because they are the most democratic places in the city. This is where people interact informally with other citizens regardless of gender, age, etcetera. And the urban spaces should be green, and when I say green I mean nature." 
    - Rasmus Astrup, Partner, SLA Architects, Denmark

 

  • “Green walls can play a unique role in enhancing any city.  The ability to place them upon structures or along walls gives an opportunity to introduce these elements to areas that normally would be absorbing and generating heat.  The green walls themselves will help to mitigate this and be a cooling element for the city.  Additionally, the beautification factor is also important” 
    - Val Zillig, Urban Planning Advisor, Sharjah Urban Planning Council

 

  • "Of course, vertical gardens/green walls have a big effect on cities if used properly. I think we need this type of greenery in our region more than others because of the harsh climate. Looking at green walls is better than looking at glass walls (changing the view), also it will help to enhance the environment in the city (cultural & climate). It is considered as a best practice for using small spaces in a better way. But the plants, the places & the design should be selected carefully." 
    - Ayub Hassan Algaferi, Head of Parks Section, Al Ain Municipality    

 

  • 'Be it a canopy tree or vines trailing on a pergola, natural planting reaching above our heads, triggers something special in our spatial awareness.  This also applies to green walls.  As a means to define spaces, green walls have the additional fascinating aesthetic quality that we can design vertical planting layouts with them. 

    Green walls however are distinctly unnatural and embody inherent conflicting sustainability outcomes. 

    They can positively add to ecological enrichment, habitat creation, storm water management, micro-climate moderation, and building energy efficiency.  The planted structures themselves however, are well below par in regard to meeting sustainability objectives.  They are expensive to install, have limited longevity and the frequent maintenance they require, are an ongoing burden which in time, inevitably, will require reconsideration and/or further innovation.' 
    - Maarten Buijs, Principal Landscape Architect, Aspect Studios, Australia

 

  • 'Vertical gardens/green walls can significantly contribute to the beautification of the city skyline  however more studies have to be conducted on applying these technologies into the local context by selecting plan life indigenous to the region and more resilient against the local climate. Additionally maintenance is another factor where watering the green walls may consist of expensive self-irrigating systems. So it is importance to ensure that the vertical garden/ green wall systems are sustainable and maintenance free to the utmost extent ensuring for a pleasant appearance all year round.' 
    - Ahmad Bukhash, Director - Urban Planning, Dubai Creative Clusters Authority


Top 3 benefits of using native plants in landscape designs

According to Andrew Burton Anderson, Senior Landscape Architect + UNESCO World Heritage Advisor, Oman Botanic Garden:

  • Lower water use:  saving a precious resource and reducing installation and operational costs
  • Less reliance on non-native plant species and reducing the use of potentially invasive alien plant species
  • Encouraging bio cultural relevance and connecting people to the native plant species and their traditional uses and cultural significance

 

According to Ayub Hassan Algaferi, Head of Parks Section, Al Ain Municipality:   

  • Using less water for irrigation
  • Can tolerate high temp and drought
  • Using less pesticides
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