In Calgary we’ve maybe had 10 days of cold (sub zero) weather this year – it has been abnormally warm for the year, recently breaking a 90 year day record earlier this month. It gets me dreaming that maybe we can have more gardening in the city. Small plot gardening is something I’ve always supported.
Most condominiums have little in the way of necessary green space for owners to even share in a community garden. In Calgary, there is little development that includes either roof or ground based plots that can be used by owners. In some city locals the community associations have created shared gardening plots – but they are few and far between.
For condominium owners, the ability to raise a little summer patch of vegetation on their balconies is often discouraged by bylaws – controlling type, amount, and use of plants. These bylaws can often shut down any real use due to the risk of watering damaging the structure of the buildings.
Developers need to begin – especially in colder locations like Calgary – to start including 2 or 3 season gardening opportunities for condominiums. Balcony based (using water resistant materials or building approaches with incorporate better drainage – here’s an article about a Florida balcony fruit garden), roof-based (covered or uncovered) or even ground based (hah! Unlikely because that would reduce building and revenue opportunities – though I think people would pay for it) should be mandated or encouraged.
It would go hand in hand with LEED or other green building initiatives.
It would also be an amazing process to build a condominium which would encourage neighbours to talk, communicate, and interact with each other. And that’s something that can be almost priceless – because it is proven conflict between owners decreases as interaction increases.
In an earlier post I pointed out two condominium owners that had leased some land their unit overlooks, and converted it into a park (and gorgeous).
Just tripped over this listing of 10 roof decks in Manhattan. Also amazing in scope and style.
Roof decks are another thing (if only I was a developer with money to see some of the vision through) that should be mandatory in today’s day and age. There is certainly no reasonable explanation why a multi-story building should be built without green-space use of the roof.
Certainly, the penthouse suite(s) might object if it is a public space, and maybe there would be a loss in top dollar value, but developed successfully I think it could still work. For a public space, it could be isolated to a corner with tall walls or other barriers that would ensure both privacy and security.
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One thing that living in a condominium doesn’t really meet the needs of – green space. Condominum at it’s heart is about higher density living (sometimes very high density), and green space requires land that could otherwise be monetized by a developer.
One of those “if I had my way” – would be to require some additional green space development, or land set aside, with the development of each condominium. Even though I love the urban environment, I’ve come to understand the power of a little green space on life. The condo I live in was specifically chosen because of a large surrounded courtyard, as well as being right beside a large public park and river.
With that in mind, it’s a great smile to read of John Zayac and Dr. Marie Simon, who leased the land beside their condominium to build a garden. If you follow the link, don’t forget to view the 9 or so pictures, they are gorgeous.
If we can use this site as an example of what dedicated condominium owners would do with some land, perhaps we can use this park to excite municipalities about the benefits of reserved green space with each new condominium development.
Green space helps with the anxiety and stress that can come from higher population densities. Unlike the lament that Kermit sings, it shouldn’t be so difficult being (creating) green.
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