I ride the Red Line to work every day, and my favorite part of the trip is invariably snaking around the curves of the track that center around the Sheridan stop. Part of the reason is that I love seeing Wrigley Field each day, and this time of year, dreaming of spring. The other reason is it’s such a gorgeous view of the rooftops around Wrigleyville. Not the ones that sell tickets to the Cubs games; literally the rooftops on the typical Chicago three-story walk-ups. There’s an abundance of them there, and the rhythm of them is beautiful from the vantage point of the El.
Allison Arieff has an outstanding post on her New York Times blog today. It’s all about unused spaces in cities, and she opens her article with a Buckminster Fuller quote:
“Our beds are empty two-thirds of the time.
Our living rooms are empty seven-eighths of the time.
Our office buildings are empty one-half of the time.
It’s time we gave this some thought.”
— R. Buckminster Fuller
When you start looking for them, the unused spaces in cities are staggering in their breadth and complexity. What better example than Chicago’s rooftops?
So here’s my idea for Chicago: can we make a “transform your roof into green space” toolkit? What would it take to create gardens and parks atop our brownstones and graystones? I believe one of the major impediments is the need to structurally transform roofs to accommodate green rooftops. Can we find a way around that?
I bet we can if we set our minds to it.