New Study Provides First Look at Green Roof Distribution Across NYC

New Study Provides First Look at Green Roof Distribution Across NYC

map shows distribution of green roofs across NYC's five boroughs, mostly in Manhattan and Brooklyn

Green roofs cowl lower than 0.1% of New York City’s buildings, in response to a brand new examine, and greater than half of them are concentrated in wealthier areas like midtown and downtown Manhattan. Source: Treglia et al./Ecology and Society 2022

Roofs planted with vegetation — referred to as inexperienced roofs — will help cities adapt to a altering local weather by absorbing storm water, decreasing native temperatures, and offering insulation that cuts indoor heating and cooling prices. Yet inexperienced roofs cowl lower than 0.1% of New York City’s 1 million buildings, in response to a brand new evaluation.

Published in Ecology and Society, the paper gives the primary complete dataset of inexperienced roof distribution in New York City, together with insights into potential drivers of the place they’re, and what it’d imply for the advantages they’ll supply. The dataset is publicly out there, and may inform choices on inexperienced roof coverage in New York City.

Previous efforts to know the places inexperienced roofs all through town have been piecemeal. Thanks to information compilation and geospatial evaluation by co-author Greg Yetman and colleagues from the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) on the Columbia Climate School, this examine was capable of fill within the gaps within the information. The evaluation was primarily based on aerial and satellite tv for pc imagery collected in 2016, and relied on machine studying in addition to human enter to find inexperienced roofs.

“Companies and constructing homeowners have put in inexperienced roofs in an effort to retain stormwater, however there is no such thing as a central registry of those installations,” stated Yetman. “Detecting the roofs from imagery was a perfect solution to find each giant and small installations with out having to survey constructing homeowners.”

The complete dataset will assist choice makers higher perceive who’s receiving the advantages of inexperienced roofs — which, as of 2016, have been concentrated in wealthier areas equivalent to midtown and downtown Manhattan — and to trace modifications over time, stated the examine’s lead writer, Mike Treglia, from The Nature Conservancy.

“This data, in addition to insights on the sorts of buildings we see inexperienced roofs on, equivalent to public vs. non-public, is in the end invaluable in working with policymakers, advocates, and researchers to develop inexperienced roofs, significantly in areas the place they’re most wanted,” stated Treglia.

rooftop garden and NYC skyscrapers in the background

The Brooklyn Grange grows over 100,000 kilos of produce annually in its 5.6 acres of rooftop farms. Photo: Nick Normal

The report features a survey of inexperienced roof insurance policies world wide, which show a connection between coverage and the implementation of inexperienced roofs. As New York City implements insurance policies equivalent to native legal guidelines 92 and 94 of 2019 and provides incentives equivalent to a property tax abatement that may help the set up of extra inexperienced roofs, information on their distribution are key to informing future efforts.

“If we’re going to meet our objectives for local weather adaptation, sustainability, and fairness, we have now to take a position extra in our inexperienced roofs alongside different inexperienced areas,” stated co-author Timon McPhearson, professor of city ecology at The New School. “The unmet alternative to remodel the flat roof house in New York City is huge. Mobilizing metropolis sources to develop inexperienced roofs, particularly in underserved neighborhoods, might go a good distance in the direction of cooling town, enhancing stormwater resiliency, and offering new recreation areas.”

The researchers collaborated with members of the New York City Green Roof Researchers Alliance, convened by NYC Audubon, to develop the dataset and write the paper. The dataset is publicly out there and the strategies used to develop it, documented within the paper, might be transferred to different cities nationally and internationally, to determine related understanding of inexperienced roofs elsewhere.

Other co-authors on the brand new examine embody Eric W. Sanderson of the Wildlife Conservation Society and Emily Nobel Maxwell of The Nature Conservancy.

Adapted from a press launch by The Nature Conservancy.

CIESIN’s work was supported by the Coastal Seas venture, which was funded by the National Science Foundation.

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