Green Roofs: The Return of Nature to the City

Objective: We have made it our mission to bring green roofs closer to the next generation by building miniature green roof models and conduct an interview with an expert for constructive feedback.

What are green roofs and why are they important?

As our cities continue to grow, the importance of sustainable urban design has become more important than ever. One of the latest trends in sustainable urban living is the construction of green roofs. These are roofs planted with greenery, on top of buildings that offer a variety of environmental benefits and significantly increase living conditions in cities. Green roofs improve air quality by filtering pollutants from the air and producing oxygen through photosynthesis. This is especially important in urban areas where air pollution is higher.

Benefits of green roofs

Green roofs can also help reduce the urban heat island effect, a phenomenon where cities are significantly warmer than rural areas. The Vegetation on green roofs helps reduce the heat absorbed by buildings and, through the process, also cools the surrounding air. Green roofs create new habitats for insects, birds, and other wildlife. This has the effect of increasing biodiversity in urban areas and promotes coexistence between humans and nature.

Relation to the Project

Before starting this project, we did not have much prior knowledge about green roofs. All we knew is that green roofs were literally what the name means: roofs that are green. However, while working on this project we broadened our horizon and not only passed our knowledge on to the future generation but also make a change. We were highly motivated from the beginning of our project and were able to set our goals and got a head start. Our Vision with green roofs is that more cities install them and use the space that we do not use anyway. By doing this we can help our environment.


This pitch-video was used to contact potential collaboration partners.

How were green roofs promoted?

To implement our mission of bringing green roofs closer to the next generation, we paid a visit to a local kindergarten. To make the children aware of the topic in a fun way, we built miniature green roofs using shoe boxes that we converted into houses. This allowed the children to imagine what a green roof looks like and how it works.
The greening of roofs is an important topic and can reduce or even solve our problems of today in the future. Therefore, this project and the awareness of the next generation is of high importance for us. We wanted to contribute our part to this.

Brainstorming and preparation

To really gain the most knowledge, we decided to start our project by doing online research and came across hard facts and expertise knowledge. After having gained interest and having the urge to lean more, our teacher inspired us to make a collaboration with a school. We made the effort and contacted multiple international schools and primary schools in our area. Thankfully, a local Swiss kindergarten agreed and granted us the privilege to pay them a visit. Due to the age of the children, we had to come up with an appropriate way to make learning about green roofs informative and fun. Ideally, we decided to build a miniature green roof out of a shoebox.

Warming up in the kindergarten

Before starting to build the miniature green roofs with the children, we took time to sit down in a circle, play games, sing songs and give the children a simple and understandable preview on why green roofs are important.

Miniature architects for miniature green roofs

In the lid of the shoebox, the seeds were planted in soil. To make sure the lid does not get damaged from the water, we made a protective layer out of aluminum foil. The children loved planting the seeds. The shoebox itself was sprayed with silver spray paint in advance and the children could decorate the shoeboxes. We split up into three groups to create a more personal and creative learning experience.

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Green roof in the process

To share our experience we have made, we wrote an article in German and contacted multiple newspapers and blogs for publication.


In addition, we also had the chance to conduct an interview with an Israeli student studying energy and environmental engineering at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. He was able to explain that in Israel the roofs are covered with solar panels for energy production, and he confirmed the importance of green roofs for the future. He found our visit to the kindergarten important because it will also affect the future state of our planet.

Listen to “Green Roofs” interview

Green Roofs interview for download.

Results from the kindergarten

The kindergarten teacher was nice and sent us some images of the green roofs the children and us had built together. We are thrilled with the results (and so is the kindergarten teacher)! The children were inspired, and one of the children said his father owns a farm, and he will tell his father about what he learned from us. Who knows… maybe his farmer father will implement green roofs on his roofs in his farm.

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Model example of the miniature green roof
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Completed green roofs with the children

Experience & Reflection

In conclusion, we were not only able to conduct an interview with an expert and get constructive feedback on our project, but we were also able to pay a visit to a kindergarten. There we were able to show the children how green roofs work and built three miniature models. We were thrilled by the interaction with the children. According to the kindergarten teacher, the children were fascinated. 

She said that the children enjoyed learning about green roofs and were able to understand its purpose better, due to the fact that they had a “hands-on learning experience”. The first thing the children do in the morning when they get to class is check on their green roofs to see how much they have grown. So the cress we planted won’t go to waste, the children will eat the cress as a snack with a slice of bread. (Cress is healthy and rich in vitamin C.)

To make the most out of the project, we advise future teams to take the bull by the horns and start brainstorming early. It is also important to remain transparent and open to new ideas. Have fun and let your creativity run free.

We believe that we executed this project successfully and made the most out of it. It can proudly be said that we are pleased with the result of our project, especially since the children are the future citizens of the world. For us the improvements are the most important.

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Update: The green roofs have grown!


Celine Trinh, Daniel Nägeli & Special Member


[1] Advantages and disadvantages of green roofs

[2] Introduction of types of green roofs

[3] Pros and cons of green roofs


On-topic posts on

☷ See the project teams here »
☵ Some words about the contributions »

One thought on “Green Roofs: The Return of Nature to the City

  1. lt is quite innovative and impressive to have a project like green roofs.
    I think this should be flourished world wide as it would be an excellent solution for improving our air quality and there by decreasing global warming.
    An important thing is that if more emphasis is given in growing fruits and vegetables through green roofs it will help us to become self-sufficient in food and also we can avoid many diseases due to usage harmful pesticides.
    I appreciate the project leaders to introducing this concept to kindergarten students because as a teacher I know very well that they are our future and are going to be the protecting hands of our environment.

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