Chicago is one of the most densely populated cities in America with a countless number of buildings. The Great Chicago Fire once turned most of the city into ruins. However, thanks to the direction in the urban planning of City Beautiful, the modernization of urban planning, and the construction of steel skyscrapers, the city quickly began to recover and develop. Now the Windy City is the global center for finance, industry, technology, and culture. Despite a huge number of skyscrapers and high-rise buildings, the city does not create the impression of a stone jungle. Among the business and residential quarters of the city, picturesque parks and gardens stretch which are ideal for pleasant walks on an invigorating morning or hide from the heat on a sultry day.
In 2023 it is not uncommon to see how the roofs of city buildings are buried in thick vegetation. Such an urban oasis design creates a strong ecosystem, softens rainwater runoff, and diminishes the urban heat island effect. The last occurs when certain urbanized districts undergo more extreme heat than outlying zones.
The green coating of roofs in Chicago is more than half a million square meters, including 13 farms. Ten years ago, the number of sustainable housetops was more than 350. Today this amount has grown to half a thousand.
Green Roof Initiative: Where the Roots Grow From
Rooftop gardening ideas for outstanding urban landscaping belong to the former mayor of the Windy City. In the 1990s, the “green” initiatives became very popular. So, the environmental department began to develop a plan for the oasis creation on the roofs of houses and high-rise edifices within the CitySpace project.
Thanks to the sustainable development campaign 20 years ago, private developers were able to receive significant assistance from the mayor’s office, provided that sustainable elements are included in their projects. To date, there is a rule that if more than 50% of the housetop area is covered with vegetation, the building gains points for LEED certification.
Green roofs are only part of a huge stable coup of the city. Chicago has already gone down in history as a multiple winner of “The Greenest City of America” award with about 70% green-certified space. Amazing, isn’t it?
The wide popularity of the urban rooftop gardens and the benefits obtained encourage developers to introduce vegetation into their buildings. This has not only an aesthetic and decorative aspect but is also a powerful locomotive on the way to achieving the global goal of the sustainable development program.
How to Reach the Chicago Rooftops Gardens?
The best way to experience stunning sustainable urban landscapes is to rent a comfortable and spacious car. Getting around the city is much easier thanks to the street’s grid position that facilitates navigation. If you are traveling with family or a group of friends, or have a lot of luggage, then an 8-passenger van rental will be the best option for you. Van rental in the USA will let you stay with your travel companions throughout the whole trip sharing the impressions. You will also save on rental costs without the need to book two or three vehicles. If you are looking for where to rent 8-passenger van in Chicago, you may choose from the most popular pick-up locations in the city, such as O’Hare and Midway International Airports and the Loop as well. With reliable and world-world-trusted suppliers, your Chicago car rental experience will be smooth and hassle-free.
The McCormick Place Midwest Biggest Rooftop Farm
Have you ever expected to see vegetables growing on the roof of a high-rise building? And what about the whole farm that grows more than 8,000 pounds of products annually? Architects turned the rooftop of McCormick Place into a splendid space for events, planting the terrace with herbs and beds. 10 years ago, thanks to the initiative of the Botanical Garden of Chicago a 1900-square roof turned into the largest farm in the Midwest. More than a hundred varieties growing on this farm, including culinary aromatic herbs, tomatoes, peppers, turnips, and fruits, serve for preparation of exquisite hors d’oeuvres and main plates in the kitchen of 23rd Street Café and Market. Innovative rooftop gardens provide a unique opportunity for chefs to use carefully selected ingredients during the creation of culinary masterpieces in restaurants. Although the farm provides just a part of the necessary supply of McCormick Place and the growing McCormick Square district, it minimizes the need to transport fruits and vegetables to the convention center.
City Hall’s Roof Garden Pioneer
If you want to see one of the first and most famous gardens with your own eyes, head atop the City Hall. The garden on the top floor of this 11-storey edifice was conceived and implemented in the year 2000 as a demonstration project. Its purpose was to check the advantages of green spaces in the city, in particular with respect to the effect on the temperature and quality of the air. The garden has more than 150 species of plants. They were carefully selected for survival in conditions of drought, wind, and intensive effects of the sun. Most of the plants in the garden are from prairies, which makes them highly resistant to external natural factors and unpretentiousness. It was proved that such a garden improves air quality, diminishes stormwater runoff, and contributes to the reduction of the urban heat island effect. City Hall’s green oasis keeps the edifice cooler during hot summer and requires less energy for air conditioning. It is possible due to taking up less heat from the sun by the trees and plants than the tar roof.
Homestead on The Roof Venue at West Chicago Avenue
How about enjoying exquisite plates and refreshing cocktails at one of the best rooftop restaurants in Chicago? Homestead on The Roof has become a favorite location for parties, weddings, graduations, and special events. The restaurant’s outdoor patio, decorated with beautiful hanging gardens, can accommodate up to 100 guests. The interior decoration will amaze you with natural birch wallpaper and intricate terrariums. Open Table included the roof venue in the list of the best 100 restaurants for outdoor mealtime in the US. Homestead on The Roof is the real Chicago hidden green treasure that will amaze you and your guests.