The use of green roofs and living walls to regenerate the urban eco-system and revitalize the public realm

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Long, Hao
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Landscape Architecture
Unitec Institute of Technology
Robinson, Nick
Bradbury, Matthew
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Lynn Shopping Mall (Auckland, N.Z.)
New Lynn Town Centre (Auckland, N.Z.)
New Lynn (Auckland, N.Z.)
shopping malls
town centres
green walls
living walls
green roofs
living roofs
urban biodiversity
green space networks
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Long, H. (2018). The use of green roofs and living walls to regenerate the urban eco-system and revitalize the public realm. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Landscape Architecture). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from
RESEARCH QUESTION: How can green roofs and living walls be used as an integrated part of urban development to increase biodiversity and re-establish the connections between people and nature? During the last few decades, global climate change has been occurring due to human activities and the over-exploitation of natural resources. With the acceleration of the global urbanization process, the urban heat island effect, air pollution, rainstorms, and other environmental problems have become increasingly severe in urban areas. The world's population is continually converging on metropolitan areas. Sprawl causes fragmentation of natural and semi-natural areas on the urban fringe (Inostroza et al., 2010, Inostroza et al., 2013), and urban densification decreases the area covered by urban green spaces within a city (Harland & van den Bosch, 2015). To resolve those issues, green roofs and living walls as part of urban landscape design have been increasingly widely favored by urban environmental researchers and designers because they are representatives of sustainable design. Moreover, green roofs and living walls not only can provide a solution to environmental issues, but also can regenerate the biodiversity of urban areas. This thesis will use existing case studies and research results to estimate the positive effects of green roofs and living walls on large-scale buildings in urban environments for the benefit of the biodiversity of ecosystems. In addition to these ecological benefits, green roofs and walls can offer usable space for people. Green roofs and living walls can be likened to the traditional ‘roof garden’ concept, but when understood as an extension of green roofs and walls, can become an extension of accessible green space from the ground floor onto urban structures to provide more high quality outdoor space for people in urban areas and better connections and circulation within and between buildings. The aim is to show how large-scale roof parks can combine amelioration of the environmental problems created by large building complexes with the provision of an accessible and valuable high amenity greenspace for people. Achieving this aim would result in the introduction of elevated green space as an important component of landscape architecture and a valuable component of the urban designer’s toolkit.
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