Posted by Scott Hackett on Thu, Jun 16, 2016 @ 6:06 AM
The humble backyard veggie patch is well and truly back in vogue, with shows like Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules prompting a new interest in cooking, fresh produce, and the ‘grow your own’ revolution. Unfortunately, many urban dwellers no longer have the luxury of a quarter acre block, instead living in high-rise apartments, with only a small paved balcony – if they’re lucky.
In response, many new apartment developers are leveraging previously-wasted rooftop space to create community gardens for residents to farm and enjoy; in the process, differentiating their developments and increasing profits.
Shelley Meagher writes that there are two key factors in determining whether a community rooftop garden will succeed: “Its operating budget and the way in which the roof’s manager conceives his or her role. In the community garden model, maintenance appears to be “outsourced” to the community. Property developers, design professionals and, above all, facility managers generally expect that a base level of maintenance will still be required.”
The Commons apartment building in Brunswick, Melbourne, has 24 apartments over five floors, with its crowning jewel a rooftop garden with sweeping views of Melbourne. At the northern end are 46 plots, where residents can grow vegetables and herbs of their choice. Residents have also created compost heaps and worm farms, to feed their plots.
Some challenges have emerged – notably, exposure to wind, all-day sun with little or no shade, and some leaks occurring as a result of issues with the roof membrane (unrelated to the rooftop garden). All in all though, The Commons community rooftop garden has been and continues to be an overriding success. Meagher concludes, “With sound management, including clear communication to the community, the pioneering community garden on the roof of The Commons has proven its potential to continue to be both a viable and a valuable asset.”
To find out more about unique urban greening solutions, click here.