The Lifeline of Urban Cities

For a few decades now the so-called urban cities of modern times have been a hub for diseases originating from abiotic factors, caused primarily through anthropogenic disturbances. To find a solution to this problem caused by pollution and other similar factors, many kinds of research are going on. A few suggested initiatives are also being implemented by the governing body but no matter what the efforts taken in order to reach a solution; the problem is only growing bigger. To reverse the effects caused by this problem, it will take years and can be achieved only through community support.  

Recently a few ways have been discovered through which people are contributing to reducing the negative effects caused by such agents. They have been concentrating on the waste that they generate and the pollution accompanied by deforestation caused by human activities. The method that is being widely used to tackle this situation is Terrace Gardening or Rooftop Farming. This method not only addresses the problem but also provides certain benefits for the practitioner.

Firstly, let us get to know what rooftop farming is. Just like the name suggests it is the process of growing edible and useful flora in people’s roofs. Some people also grow plants for decorative purposes and they too enjoy certain benefits. A benefit that all experience is the cooling of the building structure in summer and retention of heat in the winter. The natural processes that plant use for their survival contribute to this phenomenon.

For justifying this claim let us take an example. During winter with the limited availability of sunlight, the buildings get very cold. In such a situation the plants utilize the sunlight for photosynthesis and the excess sunlight that doesn’t fall on the plant reaches the soil/substrate which in turn absorbs the heat produced. Most plant-growing mediums have the ability to retain the heat over long periods of time as is scientifically proven hence keeping the building warm. Then if plants that yield edible products are grown, we can also benefit from eating actual organic produce with the added benefit of reducing household expenditure. Apart from this, plants also provide other benefits like purifying air, reducing organic waste generated, and effectively utilizing rainwater, and will also imbibe many values and lessons in us.

Source: The Guardian

To utilize all the benefits offered by a rooftop garden one must understand how to establish and take care of a rooftop garden. The first step in creating a rooftop farm is to make a plan which utilizes the area effectively and can give a better yield. For making a good plan one must do research on what plants can be grown in a particular location and what will be requirements for such a plant. For this task, one can utilize the vast multitude of information available online. The next step is to familiarize oneself with the necessary skills that are required to do the necessary task. With enough research, planning, and proper execution an amazing rooftop garden can be set up easily.

There are many ways to set up a rooftop farm apart from the classical method involving pot and soil. For example, we can switch the soil for any other appropriate substrate available. We can also use other methods of farming such as but not limited to Hydroponics, aeroponics, Air-dynaponics, and the green roof method.

Hydroponics is a method where a water-based nutrient solution is used as a growing substrate and the plants are held in place through a physical structure. Sometimes instead of creating a nutrient-rich solution, the farmers grow fish in the water, and through the waste produced by the fish the water gets enriched with nutrients and then this water can be used to grow the plants. This way of growing fish is called aquaponics. If this method is used to its maximum, the farmer can harvest both fish and plants for profit. This innovative method has crossed its pilot stage and is being widely used in developed and developing countries.

Growing plants without any substrate seems impossible but it is something that is really being practiced in reality. The plants are kept in structures with their roots exposed along with all the other parts to air. That is the plants are suspended in the air and are sprayed or misted periodically with a nutrient-rich medium or with an aerosol of a nutrient solution. This system has been given the term aeroponics. Air-dynaponics is a method where the cost of maintaining an aeroponics system is reduced further and the yield is increased.

Source: indiaMART

The Green Roof method is also an improvised version of an already existing method. It is just another form of the classical method with a twist of modern engineering. It tackles all the problems involved with the classical method and is more scientific. The problems it primarily addresses include the disruption of structural stability, water clogging, penetration, drainage of excess water, and other similar issues. Changes can be made to the green roof model to meet specific requirements. With such promising advancements in technology even urban wastelands can be turned into something filled with flora and fauna.

Recent polls and data collection statistics prove that in almost every urban complex of society, the residents are willing to accommodate a rooftop garden in their homes. This opinion is seen in over 60 percent of households. With proper planning and infrastructure developments, even, the simplest methods used in rooftop farming can give amazing results. If executed on a large scale even unexplored and unimagined benefits can be enjoyed in the future. With the cooperation of the public the primary problem that we face can be resolved so let us do that as our first step into a better world.


Published by LakesOfIndia

Lakes of India is an E.F.I initiative aimed at sensitizing the larger public on freshwater habitats across the country. A blog platform where one can read about lakes across India. You can become a guest blogger to write about a lake in your hometown and initiate an action to protect that lake.

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