CitiesAlive: Annual green roof and wall conference comes to Philadelphia

CitiesAlive, the only conference series in North America dedicated to green roof and wall industries, is in Philadelphia this week. This year’s four-day conference, “Restoring Urban Waters,” hosted by the industry association Green Roofs and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, will look at how green roofs and walls are part of Philadelphia’s plan to revitalize the city’s waters. The conference will feature education sessions, panel discussions, a trade show, demonstrations of the latest science and technologies, as well as tours of the city’s green roofs and walls.   

With so many innovative green projects and programs already underway, Philadelphia was an obvious choice for the 2011 conference. “Philadelphia is one of a few cities in the United States which has decided to rely upon urban greening as the fundamental, if not primary approach to addressing compliance with the Clean Water Act,” says Charlie Miller, founder of Roofscapes (now Roofmeadow), a Philadelphia-based green roof company.  

In addition to the small-scale greening initiatives, like farmer’s markets and composting services, our city features the tallest green building in America (Comcast Center) and Pennsylvania’s largest green roof on an existing building (45,000 square feet at PECO’s Center City headquarters). And then, there’s Green City, Clean Waters, the innovative multi-billion dollar, 25-year plan Philadelphia has adopted to restore water quality within the city.

Along with keynote speakers from Philadelphia’s water and environment sector, the conference will feature specific sessions on the city’s green transformation (December 1) and a case study of PECO’s green roof (December 2). Other highlights include tours of Philadelphia’s green spaces, technical sessions where industry experts will speak on policy, design, and research topics, and an all-day trade show. Green Roof Professional courses will be offered as well as the accreditation exam (separate registration is required). 

Anyone can register to attend the conference and there are several options, including two attendance packages and a student discount. The conference will be held at the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel (201 N. 17th St.). To register visit the conference website.

- Anna Louise Neiger