Latest news on the CLEVER Cities project

Milan’s architects visit the city’s green roofs and walls

30 July 2019

Milan’s architects visit the city’s green roofs and walls

30 July 2019


During this summer’s intense heatwaves, city dwellers have been instinctively escaping the concrete and traffic in favour of cooler rivers and parks. The heat reminds us of our vulnerability in the face of climate change, but instincts remind us of a natural alternative: to bring more nature back into our cities. And potential space for nature does not stop on the ground. This is the thinking behind the CLEVER Cities Milan campaign, which aims to spread green roofs and walls throughout Milan and beyond. On 14 June 2019 CLEVER Cities partner Ambiente Italia and ROOFmatters organised, in collaboration with the Order of Architects of Milan, a public a tour of Milan’s green roofs and walls, aimed at professionals such as architects, engineers and landscape designers.

25 participants attended the tour. Starting from the headquarters of the Order of Architects of Milan, the first stop was a visit to the design studio Piuarch, and a tour of the 300m2 roof garden, ‘Orto fra I cortili’ (vegetable garden between courtyards), which the studio built on top of its own building.

The second stop led the group to a 120m2 green wall in a private courtyard. The third and final stop was a visit to a roof garden on top of the Superstudio Più, which had been set up as a vegetable garden in 2014 and was then transformed into a paddy field (with seven types of rice) during the 2015 Milan Expo. Since 2016, a large part of the roof has consisted mainly of grass since it is often used for events, and another part is dedicated to growing vegetables, fruit and aromatic herbs. Here participants learned about the cultural and social activities linked to the garden, and of the group of retired women that look after it and distribute the harvest to those who need it the most.

The tour was an opportunity for the participants to begin understanding the advantages of incorporating plants within design structures. The group also learned about the challenges, maintenance requirements and the various innovative approaches available. With the tour having been fully booked and the positive reactions from participants, it seems there is a clear interest in further training opportunities on green roofs and walls in Milan. Luckily, the CLEVER Cities team already have some more events lined up to spread awareness and knowledge, targeting various relevant stakeholder groups:

  • 27 September 2019: CLEVER Cities conference with presentations on the topic of green roofs and walls – programme soon available
  • 28 September 2019: Tour of Milan’s green roofs and walls aimed at tenants, building owners, interested citizens and professionals
  • 2, 9 and 16 October 2019 : Training course of three modules targeting professionals such as architects, engineers, agronomists and building managers - will take place (in Italian) and be available both in-class (120 places available) and as an e-learning course.


For more details on the events above, visit the local online platform (in Italian).

Images: Ambiente Italia/ROOFmatters