Transforming the commercial property market using green roof retrofit and sub-leases for urban food production.

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Conference Proceeding
Re-engineering the City: Transitions to Urban Sustainability 2020-2050 Conference, 2014
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There are numerous acknowledged benefits associated with the retrofit of impervious roof coverings with edible plants and vegetables. The benefits include reduction of carbon food miles, the provision of healthy fresh food in city centres, increased bio-diversity, reduction of pollution, as well as some improved thermal performance at building level leading to lower greenhouse gas emissions. The time for food to be transported from the `paddock to plate is also reduced with food retaining more nutrients and being healthier as a result. In many countries the practices of urban food production are continued, however it has been lost in many cities and it is worth exploring the benefits and opportunities in re-introducing such practices, both New York and London are adopting city farming albeit on a modest scale. To date no commercial rooftop farm exists within the City of Sydney. One barrier is that owners of city centre commercial properties are risk averse to the concept of having a working farm operating on their roofs. Partly it is `the shock of the new'; it is not a practice with which they are familiar and there is a reticence to embrace the notion. Another barrier is the notion of letting the space to a third party, and all the issues that need to be considered. Finally how is the `value of this roof space determined? This research proposes a `green roof urban farm sub-lease to address key concerns and barriers expressed by owners and sets out standard covenants which could apply. The study also proposes a methodology for valuing roof space for urban food production. It is posited that these changes are a pre-requisite to transforming the commercial property market to render urban food production on rooftop more acceptable and, significantly; to put in place the assurances property owners require.
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