Exploring the potential for urban food production on Sydney’s rooftops

ZEMCH Network
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Mass customisation and sustainability in housing proceedings, 2014, pp. 87 - 98
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
There are environmental, economic and social benefits of retrofitting rooftops on city buildings for food production. Environmental benefits include lower carbon food miles, potential reductions in building related operational carbon emissions, reductions in the urban heat island, increases in bio-diversity and reductions in storm-water run-off. Economically, the benefits are reduced roof maintenance costs, lower running costs and access to fresh food. Thirdly the social or community gains are the creation of spaces where people can engage in growing food. Psychological and therapeutic gains accrue when people engage with natural environments However there are barriers which include perceptions of greater risk of building leaks, high costs of installation and maintenance, and access and security issues. Although the technology to design and install food production on rooftops exists, the uptake and the demand have not been high to date. Overall, the gains are not deemed sufficient and in Sydney Australia, the existing numbers of food producing rooftops are testimony to this observation. This research reports on three rooftops set up in 2013 in Sydney which are producing food. The social, economic and environmental aspects and physical aspects of the installation are described in this paper.
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