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Community Rooftop Garden of Via Gandusio

: The community roof garden (250 m2) was set up with the scope of creating a meeting point for the community where food production is the link between neighbours to share knowledge, culture and experiences (Naturvation project, 2020) about sustainable living.
: Italy
: Bologna
: 140.9 km²
: 366,133 (World Population Review, 2020)
: 2011
: 5 years
: Complete
: Yes
: Municipality of Bologna, the association BiodiverCity and the RESCUE-AB (Università di Bologna)
: 44.5048
: 11.3552
Increased provisioning of ecosystem goods (e.g. Food, water, etc)
Reduced drought risk, cooling effect, urban heat island mitigation
Yes, a green roof acts as an insulator for buildings (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2019) and plants absorb and reflect sunlight (Sempergreen, 2019); hence, this aids in creaing a cooler and more agreeable climate. For the indoor climate this implies that the air conditioning units do not have to work so intensively, which in turn means energy savings. And this also has an additional beneficial effect on the climate in the immediate vicinity of the building and on the temperature levels in the city (Sempergreen, 2019). Reduced air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions: By reducing air-conditioning demand, green roofs can reduce the associated air pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from conventional power sources (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2019).
Increased quality and quantity of green and blue infrastructures
Sustainable urbanisation
Yes, enhancing natural capital in the urban area. A green roof improves human comfort, by reducing heat transfer through the building roof, can improve indoor comfort, and lower the incidence of heat stress associated with heat waves. (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2019). Biophilic urbanism can help to protect or strengthen favorable climatic and micro-climatic conditions in cities. The power and value of biophilic urbanism as an urban resilience and sustainability strategy is clear, and a number of cities have developed and are implementing ambitious programs for expanding the nature in and around them. (Beatley, Newman, 2013; Hazard Resistant Landscaping, (s.a.). The University of Bologna calculated that circa 25-30% of water has been saved thanks to hydroponic techniques and thanks to the care and commitment by local residents. The cultures are completely pesticide-free and use exclusively organic compost as a nutrient for the plants (Naturvation project, 2020). Areas with more greenery suffer less from aggression, violence and vandalism. (Sempergreen, 2019). This fact is especially important for a social housing complex - "Via Gandusio" in the North of Bologna - that hosts two different communities: advanced-age Italians and current international immigrants. The differences create some conflicts and limit relationships among the community (Naturvation project, 2020).
Improved aesthetic value
Yes, the community roof garden also provides aesthetic value in the area.
Increased access to green infrastructure
Yes, the community roof garden was created within a social housing complex "Via Gandusio" in the North of Bologna (Naturvation project, 2020).
Increased social interaction and inclusion
Yes, residents were involved since the design and experimentation phase of the project (2010). The project has definitely had a positive impact in bringing communities together. This was done by creating a Facebook page called "Gandusio Green Project" and by organising social activities. Starting from spring 2011, a series of community social events, dinners and aperitifs were organised. Different local and European associations participated as well and enjoyed the pleasant evenings with a beautiful view of the city of Bologna. During these events, the residents and people from BiodiverCity cooked the products of the community garden and offered it to the guests. The exchange and sharing of food, as an element of cultural communication, has facilitated the encounter of very diverse people, overcoming the divisions of geographic and racial diversity. (Naturvation project, 2020).
Education, knowledge exchange and learning
Yes, a meeting was held to present the nature of the project. Main roles involved the education of users and cultural involvement. Project staff provided the material for the building of the hydroponic garden, meaning that the plants grow in plastic bottles filled with pumice stone and coconut fibre that replace the earth, an irrigation system distributes water through a closed-circuit pump, recovering excess water. This approach was successful for two main reasons: 1) it guaranteed great results with minimum waste and effort; 2) sourcing the materials was extremely cheap, as most were recycled materials. Residents learned the planting and maintenance techniques to grow different kinds of plants together (no subdivision or space). A manual on best practices and rules for the respect of the plants and others were provided (Naturvation project, 2020).
Low provisioning of ecosystem goods (e.g. Water, food)
Drought and heat risk
The Mediterranean Region is considered as a "hot-spot" of climate change, having been identified in global climate scenarios as one of the most responsive regions to climate change (Lionello and Scarascia, 2018). There is a consensus in scientific literature that average temperatures will rise across most of the Mediterranean Region, and that precipitation will decrease (Ulbrich et al. 2013; Lionello and Scarascia, 2018). Observed annual mean temperatures in the Mediterranean Region are now 1.4 °C higher than the average late-nineteenth-century levels particularly during the summer months (Cramer et al., 2018).
Low aesthetic value
Yes, this project has incorporated nature by means of the setting-up of a roof garden in an urban environment (Naturvation project, 2020).
Food security (SDG2) Zero Hunger
Yes, the growing cultures are completely pesticide-free and only use organic compost as a nutrient for the plants (Naturvation project, 2020).
Good health and well-being (SDG3)
Reduced inequalities (SGD10)
Sustainable cities and communities (SDG11)
: Beatley, T., Newman, P. 2013. Biophilic cities are sustainable, resilient cities. Sustainability 5(8):3328–3345. Available at:

Cramer, W., Guiot, J., Fader, M., Garrabou, J., Gattuso, J.-P., Iglesias, A., Lange, M.A., Lionello , P., Llasat , M.C., Paz, S., Peñuelas, J., Snoussi, M., Toreti , A., Tsimplis, M.N., Xoplaki, E. 2018. Climate change and interconnected risks to sustainable development in the Mediterranean. Nature Climate Change.

Hazard Resistant Landscaping. Charleston, South Carolina, (s.a.). Information obtained: 2019-11-10. Available at:

Lionello, P., Scarascia, L. 2018. The relation between climate change in the Mediterranean region and global warming. In Regional Environmental Change, 2018, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 1481–1493. Naturvation project. 2020. Living wall at the College of Architecture. Information obtained: 2020-09-18. Available at:

Sempergreen. 2019. Benefits of a green roof. Information obtained: 2019-11-03. Available at:

Ulbrich U, Xoplaki E, Dobricic S, García-Herrera R, Lionello P, Adani M, Baldi M, Barriopedro D, Coccimiglio P, Dalu G, Efthymiadis D, Gaetani M, Galati MB, Gimeno L, Goodess CM, Jones PD, Kuglitsch FG, Leckebusch GC, Luterbacher J, Marcos-Moreno M, Mariotti A, Nieto R, Nissen KM, Pettenuzzo D, Pinardi N, Pino C, Shaw AGP, Sousa P, Toreti A, Trigo RM, Tsimplis M. 2013. Past and current climate changes in the Mediterranean region. In: Navarra A, Tubiana L (eds) Regional Assessment of Climate Change in the Mediterranean. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 9–52.

United States Environmental Protection Agency. 2019. Using Green Roofs to Reduce Heat Islands. Information obtained: 2019-11-10. Available at:

World Population Review. 2020. Population of Cities in Italy (2020). Information obtained: 2020-09-18. Available at: