In November, the highest honour at the 2014 Victorian Landscape Architecture Awards went to the City of Melbourne for their “Urban Forest Strategy and Precinct Plan”, a futuristic vision of Melbourne filled with plant-covered skyscrapers and greenbelts instead of roads. The city’s plan to tackle climate change and urban pollution through shrubbery might seem utopian, but in fact, it is well on its way to becoming a reality.
Starting eight months ago, ecological artist Lloyd Godman began an experiment, installing several Tillandsia “air plants” on the 56th, 65th, 91st and 92nd floors of Melbourne’s Eureka tower. Unlike most, these rootless plants don’t need soil or direct watering to survive since they absorb water droplets through their leaves. As a bonus, they soak up harmful pollution, and can withstand winds of up to 200 kilometres per hour.
Amazingly, the Tillandias on the Eureka’s 92nd floor are thriving, making it the tallest rooftop garden in the world. And Godman isn’t stopping there – he has plans to lead Melbourne’s green renovation by installing hundreds of air plants on the outside of the Eureka, before terra-scaping buildings all over the city. If they become widespread enough, rooftop gardens could become a simple solution to problems like air pollution, heat-waves and even floods – maybe it is easy being green.
(Lead image: Anton Malishev/City of Melbourne)
Sophia Softky is an armchair philosopher and wayward American trying to make her way in Melbourne. Sometimes she writes things, and sometimes they get published. She is a millenial and therefore lives inside of the Internet.