What Green Roofs Can Do for NYC’s Environment and People

First-ever forum on June 7th brings together city researchers, educators, and policymakers to explore the potential of green roofs for the City and ways to unlock it   

The NYC Green Roof Researchers Alliance will hold its first annual conference, “The State of Green Roofs in New York City,” to discuss cutting-edge research on urban green roofs on Thursday, June 7, at The New School. This is the first-ever forum on the emerging fields of green roof science, policy, and education.   

Coordinated by NYC Bird Alliance with funding from The New York Community Trust, the NYC Green Roof Researchers Alliance is a consortium of over 50 researchers, educators, and policymakers from 17 New York City and State institutions. It is investigating the potential benefits of green roofs, developing a comprehensive overview of green roofs in New York City, and working to expand them across the cityscape.

New York City’s one million rooftops add up to a vast underutilized landscape that could be harnessed to make a more resilient and equitable urban environment. If effectively designed and sited, green roofs can soak up stormwater to reduce sewage overflows that pollute the city’s waterways, filter air pollution, moderate extreme heat, decrease carbon emissions, and create habitat for wild birds, bats, and pollinators.

The conference will open with a keynote by Alan Steel, CEO and President of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, which installed the largest and most studied green roof in the city (and one of the largest in the country) when the center was renovated in 2013. Topics to be covered at the conference include the development of a map and database of New York City green roofs, the use of green roofs by birds, bats, and insects, and the effects of green roofs on stormwater retention, energy use, and the urban heat island effect. Presenters will give an overview of policies that have expanded the use of green roofs in other cities and the ways in which New York City educators are using green roofs for science instruction.

Free and open to the public. Space is limited. Pre-register at bit.ly/GreenRoofsNYC.   

9-9:30 am: Check in, Coffee, and Welcome
9:30-10am: Keynote Address/Q&A, Alan Steel, President and CEO, Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
10-11:15am: Mapping Green Roofs, Green Infrastructure, and Future Potential in NYC
11:30am-12pm: Green Roof Stormwater Runoff and Microclimate Research
1-2:15pm: Green Roof Biodiversity and Biological Research
2:30-4pm: Green Roof Policy, Incentives, Management, and Education
4-4:05pm: Closing Remarks
4:10-5pm: Hors d’oeuvres and Networking with Green Roof Researchers Alliance     

The event is sponsored by the Urban Systems Lab at The New School and NYC Bird Alliance, and co-sponsored by the Civic Liberal Arts Program at Eugene Lang College and the Environmental Studies Program at The New School. The NYC Green Roof Researchers Alliance is underwritten by The New York Community Trust, A.P.J. O’Connor Fund, and the LuEsther T. Mertz Fund.