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Green Roofs: the Urban Jungle’s Upper Canopy

High atop some of the urban jungle’s tallest, widest buildings, city residents are laying down soil and planting native vegetation. Modern green roofs, which are typically flat (unlike traditional Scandinavian sod roofs), help to lower heating and cooling costs while reducing air and water pollution. Leaders worldwide are recognizing the benefits of green roofing, and are slowly turning the aerial view of their cities from gray to green.

In Germany, for example, nearly 10 percent of all rooftops are green; in Switzerland, Toronto and Tokyo, laws require certain-sized roofs to be green, and in Chicago, Illinois, a 2005 city grant program helped to finance the planning and installation of more than 200 green roofs.

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