Impact of Vertical Landscape in Urban Spaces

It has been known for some time that the benefit of greenery in urban spaces extends to many facets of public and private life. Vertical and rooftop gardens are not a new concept; they have provided occupants with shade, aesthetically pleasing views and functional live façade creates diversity and fresh feeling to the building user.

During the more recent implementation of skyrise greening in the form of rooftop gardens and vertical greenery have highlighted even more the ways in which landscaping can become an integral part of urban vertical development, ensuring communal interaction with the natural world. As one proponent of green spaces has emphasized that, “The integration of the living, organic systems are characterized by green walls and green roofs, with the inorganic and lifeless structures that have come to dominate the modern architecture, holds the promise of a new type of ‘living’ interior”. Further green building rating systems are trying to implement and maintain energy-saving buildings of the world and during that journey vertical landscape plays a big role.

Especially sky rise interior spaces need lots of energy to function the spaces as these are filled with thermal uncomfortable areas, poor air quality, acoustic issues and poor visual quality.

When we consider about the urban areas, if the vertical landscape applies to all the high rise buildings, urban heat island effects can be reduced effectively. Vertical landscape applied sky riser’s interior is having good thermal, acoustic, visual and air quality. With all these the building interior quality improvements can be maintained with low energy.

Together with many social and economic benefits of urbanization, there are also environmental problems. Cities comprise less than 3% of the Earth’s surface, but there is an extraordinary concentration of population, industry and energy use, leading to a massive local pollution and environmental degradation. In the cities, approximately 78% of carbon emissions are due to human activities. The ecological footprints of cities (through emissions, consumption and other human activities) go far beyond their urban boundaries to forests, agriculture, water and other surfaces, which supply their residents so that they have an enormous impact on the surrounding rural, regional and global ecosystem.

Cities are therefore centers of consumption (energy, materials …), greenhouse gas production, waste and emissions of pollutants in water and air. Ecological and sociological footprints of cities have expanded over increasingly large areas and created urban – rural continuum of communities, who share similar aspects of individual lifestyles. There are less and less areas in the world which are not under the influence of the dynamics of cities. The world faces enormous environmental challenges in terms of climate change, resource use and protection of the natural environment. Urban areas have a high environmental impact that can be felt globally, as well as within its own borders. With regard to these environmental issues, urban sky risers are having interior spatial issues which are based on thermal quality, acoustic quality, visual quality and air quality.

Urban Heat Island Effects
Existing City View - Hong Kong City

Thermal issues - sky risers create heat island effects with building materials in city areas. Most of the sky rise interiors are having full glass windows and those openings are getting more sunlight to the interior, which results in creating a thermal uncomfortable situation in the interior. And also sky rise building’s envelope is exposed to more sunlight without any barrier and building material temperature goes up and eventually leads to an uncomfortable building interior with high temperature.

Acoustic issues - sky risers which are located in middle of the city areas with heavy traffic road network and motor vehicles are disturbed by large and endless noise throughout the day. And also aircraft and building construction sites are producing significant sound pollution, which creates an uncomfortable acoustic quality in the interior.

Visual issues - The visual quality of sky risers has created with the materials such as glass, steel, cement, cladding, etc. It looks dry and dull without soft landscape. Windoor without green background do not create a fresh feeling and it always creates a grey feeling and aesthetic unbalance.

Air issues - Most of the city area has polluted air, because of the large number of vehicles and other human activities. In this situation, sky rise interiors have also affected by this polluted air and most of the time, interior spaces are not using fresh air as the interior oxygen level goes down and carbon dioxide level goes up. In this type of situation, people feel uncomfortable, which results in sick building syndrome.

Benefits of Vertical Garden

  • Reduces the urban heat island effect and cleans the outside air of pollutants and dust and offsets the carbon footprint of people and fuel emissions
  • Cleans interior air space by removing VOCs and other harmful toxins like benzene and formaldehyde
  • Acts as a sound proofing barrier
  • Soil and plants are a natural filter that can clean the water that flows through the wall
  • Insulates and cools the building envelope, as well as protecting it from the elements
  • Creates habitats for birds and beneficial insects, increasing biodiversity
  • Can be used for growing food in urban settings, creating sustainable and local control of food sources
  • Increases in real estate value
  • Increase foot traffic in retail spaces
  • Speeds recovery time for patients through basophilic
  • Helps children with ADHD focus better in school
  • Reduces sick building syndrome in the workplace and boosts employee morale
  • Opportunity for building passive cooling methods

Vertical landscape plays a big role in skyrise. Mainly vertical landscape, creating a better living environment in the urban vertically developed building interior spaces. Currently, urban areas are having many vertical developments and with those, we have faced many environmental and spatial issues. As a result of this scenario, building developers have to improve interior spatial quality by using lots of energy in converting it into a livable and working friendly interior space. But applying the vertical landscape of these buildings, in the meantime, we can save lots of energy by improving building interior thermal quality, interior acoustic quality, interior visual quality and interior air quality. In this sort of scenario; vertical landscape plays a major role by uplifting interior spatial quality. So this analysis has emphasized that the vertical landscape is having many benefits of urban vertical development.