This rooftop garden atop Chicago's City Hall, an 11-story office building in Chicago's Loop, was conceived as a demonstration project - part of the City's Urban Heat Island Initiative - to test the benefits of green roofs and how they affect temperature and air quality. First planted in 2000, the 20,300 square foot City Hall rooftop garden has 20,000 plants of more than 150 varieties. The plants were selected for their ability to thrive in the conditions on the roof, which is exposed to the sun and can be windy and arid. Most are prairie plants native to the Chicago region. In addition to the plants, numerous birdhouses and a pair of honeybee hives grace the gardens.
The view seen above was shot from the south side of the garden in the middle of one of the planting beds. Click Here
to see another panoramic view, from the northwest corner of the rooftop, featuring a dramatic view of the street and the surrounding buildings.
Like all green roofs, the City Hall rooftop garden improves air quality, conserves energy, reduces stormwater runoff and helps lessen the urban heat island effect. Over 100 municipal and private green roofs, totaling well over 1 million square feet, are either installed or in various stages of installation in Chicago.
Although the City Hall rooftop garden is not open to the public, it is in view of hundreds of offices in the surrounding high rise buildings, providing a patch of greenery in the midst of the downtown environment. Public access is available to a rooftop garden at Chicago's Center for Green Technology
. More information about the City Hall Roof Garden, Chicago's green roof program, and green technology in general, can be found at the Chicago Department of Environment
"Urbs in Horto", the motto found on Chicago's official seal, translates as "City in a Garden". Chicago already holds the distinction of having more public parkland and green space than any other city in the United States. By encouraging the installation of green roofs on buildings, and green technology generally, Chicago continues to live up to this motto.