Living Roof by Renzo Piano

Sitting in a packed classroom at the Università Degli Studi Roma Tre in Rome, Italy five years ago, I was first introduced to the Living Roof project built by Renzo Piano.  Seeing the work in a simple slide show, I appreciated the boldness and majesty of his design and its significance to our cities. Recently, while living briefly in San Francisco, I was able to fulfill the dream that erupted that day — to see this green roof with 1.7 million living plants.

Renzo Piano is one of my favorite architects and urban planners.  On the day I visited this landmark, there were grey clouds and minimal color in the sky.  Yet this could not dimmer my enthusiasm.  It was a joy and privilege to try to imagine all the details that went into the design of creating an entire ecosystem that will live for years to come.

It is beautiful, sustainable, literally and conceptually green. It contributes to making our urban cities healthier.  I hope he inspires more living roofs on this scale, all over the world.

Read more on this phenomenon here

Make a Wish Upon a Tree in Potrero Hill

Some were new; some were old. All were personal.

In January 2014, I visited San Francisco and discovered a small, dense neighborhood on a steep hill.  It became a fast favorite, Potero Hill.  Together, my husband, daughter and I, standing outside on the street, discovered a tree filled with small hand-written notes tied to the branches like ornaments.

Some were new; some were old. All were personal.

We had no idea who started this creation. There was no signage, no credit taken. Just tons of notes filled with things each writer was grateful for, simply expressed.  How wonderful.

We immediately found a pen and paper and wrote our joint note.  With surprise and pleasure a year later almost to the date, the tree still stands. The notes are more plentiful. Some damaged by rain but the majority, surviving in the ideal Bay Area climate.

This small and modest tree stands as a huge and enduring testament to the vitality of community life, the desire we all have to connect – and to the fun and creativity a city can experience in free yet priceless ways.

Why not consider starting a similar tree in your neighborhood?


Photography Credit: Aminah Ricks

Elevating City Life