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Philly’s First Bus Shelter Green Roof

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Philadelphia’s newest and smallest green roof is among the most daring. Designed, built and funded by Roofmeadow, this unique addition to the bustling corner of 15th and Market (across the street from City Hall and Claes Oldenburg’s overscaled clothespin) is a prototype for a larger program of bus shelter greening across the city. In March of 2011 Roofmeadow was approached by the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) to participate in a program intended to raise awareness of urban stormwater issues. The bus shelter green roof helped to kick off PWD’s Green Cities Clean Waters initiative. The concept of the bus shelter green roof, to create a striking, visually accessible green roof, integrated with an existing transit building, was expanded upon by Roofmeadow’s design of a prefabricated kit which can be deployed on any standard bus shelter in Philadelphia.

If you visit the shelter this summer you may catch the fledgling green roof receiving its morning watering , but, make no mistake, this 3.00 inch thick mini-roofscape will be completely self sufficient after this first growing season. The secret to green roof longevity lies in the lightweight and absorptive growing media and a moisture retention layer that will help the plants endure those long hot Philly heat waves.

Much like a scaled down version of Roofmeadow’s 1.2 acre green roof on the PECO building, the bus shelter green roof was constructed using pre-grown mats. The mats are made up of drought tolerant succulents (primarily Sedum species) and allow for an instant cover of vegetation. You may also notice flowering Dianthus (also known as Sweet William or Wild carnation) and Portulaca poking through at two of the four corners where the growing media increases to 6.00 inches.

If you have occasion to frequent this hub of the city be sure to keep an eye on the lifted landscape as it changes from season to season. Many of the Sedum species have brilliant fall color and persist throughout the winter months.

Public funds will not be used to advance the bus shelter greening. With consideration for financial sustainability, the initiative will be funded by the advertising space already present on standard shelters.

Tip: one of the best places to view the roof is from Dilworth plaza. If City Hall is out of your way, have no fear, it is likely that a green bus shelter is coming to your corner.

To see more bus shelter green roof photos, including the launch event with Mayor Nutter, visit our Picasa web album.

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