Dusty, President of the European Federation of Green Roof Associations


Few weeks ago, we met ToitsVerts. Today, I'm glad to introduce you to Dutsy, a green roof activist...

Dusty, Who are you, where are you?

First and foremost I am a nature lover (since I feel out of a baby chair chasing a robin) who is now the President of the European Federation of Green Roof Associations. I got to this distinguished position through campaigning and challenging the professionals norms that said green roofs COULD not be used on buildings. I am still passionate that biodiversity should be of equal importance when green roofs are considered and not just high end 'engineering' reasons. I am in London where green roof work started and where a lot of my work is. However I am lucky to range widely over the world as a public speaker and advisor - from South Korea to Canada, Sweden to Turkey Seattle to Auckland. If I can fly the flag of nature and green roofs I will.

Can you explain the origine of your initiative? Why rooftops?

It all started with a bird then embraced rare beetles, spiders and bees and then grasped the need for cities to adapt to climate change.

15 years ago we found a few rare Black Redstarts breeding on development sites in South London. These were going to be built on so to protect the bird we thought put the habitat on the roofs. Travelling to Switzerland to learn how we discovered that using native wildflowers would help rare bugs. My colleague Dr. Kadas has been studying invertebrate biodiversity on green oops for 10 years now. The longest such study in the world.

By 2004 the world was talking climate change ( many of us had for years!!) therefore we highlighted that whilst carbon reduction was important so was adapting our cities to climate change through vegetation and soil. There are a lot of flat roofs in London. In fact there is very little space at ground level so roofs are where it is at for plants in London. And bees and birds and bugs.


Do you have highlights in 2013?

Not sure what you mean. We are designing the first natural wetland roofs in London hopefully and I will be running tours this summer of green roofs. I have done this before unofficially (if you are interested contact us). We have just installed the first woodland under storey green roof in London (maybe the world). This was designed by my colleague @ecoschemes. My green roof speaking highlights will be speaking in Budapest in April, Hamburg May for IGRA and in November I will be in Singapore.

Here in London we will be running a major European Conference on Green Infrastructure in London. Anyone interested contact greeninfrastructurepeople@livingroofs.org

To discover BiodiverCity in your town or around, where would you take me to?

I would take you on a tour of green roofs in Central London from Soho to London Bridge. I would also take you to the largest bee hotel habitat will in London and probably the largest in the world on a roof to the original rubble roof at the Laban Dance Centre. However I would also take you to the Clapton Park Estate in that has been transformed into a biodiverse oasis by my good friend a co-author of our book John Little..


And which rooftops farms should I absolutly need to discover, in England or anywhere else?

Not much happening in UK at moment on this front. You would have to go to NYC or Chicago or to Paris. This one is one of my favourite roofs as is the Sarg Fabric in Vienna.

Does the word BiodiverCity inspire you?

It does - as long as it is about diversity of wildlife and not an excuse for landscape architects and architects to sound trendy. BiodiverCity needs to address the need for wildlife that is appropriate to the city and region in question not what designers think fit their aesthetics!


Dusty is part of seedbomb network. Here is his page.