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first off, dont get too excited.. this is all just a fantasy. but its an idea for what could (in my own little world) be next after the downtown retail initiative/incentives program ends later this decade. i made a post in the downtown forum that talked a lot about this and figured i would just copy/paste it into a new thread since it was slightly off topic, but i thought it made a lot of sense. im not talking just putting grass on an inaccessible rooftop. im talking putting (depending on the roof sizes, venues would be placed accordingly) full fledged gardens, parks, public sports complexes, TopGolf, miniature golf, outdoor entertainment areas/patios/bars, ect.. things that not only will help the city, but also improve the lives of the residents. here are a couple articles about Chicagos rooftop renaissance.. http://greeningthecity.wordpress.com/chicagos-green-renaissance/ "Green Roofs “We do this not because it’s fashionable, but because it makes sense. It improves public health; it beautifies the city; it enhances the quality of life; it saves money; and it leaves a legacy for future generations.” Mayor Richard Daley Perhaps the most famous of Daley’s greening initiatives are Chicago’s green roofs. Leading the way with an award-winning green roof on their City Hall, Daley’s tough green roof incentives and requirements have made Chicago the North American leader for green roof implementation for four years running (Green Roofs for Healthy Cities). Known for their ability to reduce stormwater runoff and reduce the urban heat island effect, green roofs have also proven to be perhaps the most symbolic of all Daley’s initiatives. Other cities wishing to implement green initiatives have admired Daley’s use of green roofs as a symbolic figurehead for his other greening initiatives, and is perhaps a good lesson in public perception. Green roofs are sexy and innovative, and easily capture the public imagination. The most famous green roof in Chicago may not even be recognized as one- Millennium Park." (in that case, i guess Discovery Green is a "green roof", so we are already on our way to following in Chicagos footsteps) "The 20,000 square foot garden atop Chicago’s City Hall was completed in 2001 as a green design experiment— namely to test the heating and cooling benefits plus the runoff absorption rates of green roofs in urban areas. Special soils were created using lightweight soil mixture guidelines that were researched and developed in Germany. Skylights were reinforced to support up to 60 pounds per square foot, and a massive waterproofing layer was added to the century-old roof. Plants and grasses were selected for their ability to thrive in abundant sunlight and high wind, the majority being prairie plants native to the region. Today, the City Hall’s grass and plants are able to absorb 75% of an inch of rain before storm water begins running into the city’s sewers. The roof is seven degrees cooler on average than neighboring roofs and as much as 30 degrees cooler in the summer, adding further support to research that shows the massive cooling effects of healthy lawns. Chicago now has 7 million square feet of green roofs completed or underway." thats from an old blog/article in 2011 i believe, so one could imagine Chicago has added a bit more green roof space since then. in a city that is currently spending billions to expand/rebuild the drainage system (and has an average summer temperature high in the 90s, sometimes reaching into the 100* range), i would say green roofs would make a lot of sense for us here in Houston..