green roof on chicago city hall
Photo: Doug Folgelson
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Urban Trends

Today, green roofs are mandatory for new buildings in some European countries. In the late '90s, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley began searching for ways to reduce his city's urban heat-island effect, which occurs when dark surfaces such as parking lots and rooftops absorb and retain heat, spiking local air temperature and increasing smog. In 2001, he added a 21,000-square-foot green roof to the top of Chicago City Hall. The mayors of Atlanta and Portland, Oregon, have since followed suit.
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