Green Roof Aesthetic Benefits

Written by Amy Chomowicz

Amy Chomowicz is a Program Manager at the City of Portland and the Secretary at the Green Roof Info Think-tank (GRiT).

Portland’s skyline is filled with mountains. From the iconic volcanoes of Mt. Hood, Mt. Saint Helens, and on clear days, even Mt. Rainer, to the lush west hills, we are a city with dramatic topography. The far-away view is impressive. But the close-up view is just as important, and if this is what you see out you’re office or apartment window, then the view is not contributing to your mental well-being.

Seattle ugly roof with trees (1).JPG

The up-close view of a beautiful green roof can be added to the long list of benefits we get from green roofs. Humans have an innate connection with the natural world – the concept of biophilia. Decades of research, data, and analysis have demonstrated that our physical and mental health and well-being is improved when we strengthen and reinforce that connection. One way to do so is to vegetation from our homes and offices.

As Portland’s green roof requirement matures and more green roofs are constructed, the city’s close-up views will begin to rival those in the far distance. How much could our health, well-being, and productivity improve if we could look down on roofs like this roof garden in New York City?


While stormwater management, energy savings, a reduction in the urban heat island, increased roof lifespan, and improved air quality are all important benefits, we should not overlook the aesthetic and biophilic potential of green roofs.

Learn more how to maximize the aesthetic potential of green roofs, Portland’s green roof requirement, and about other design and technical aspects of green roofs at the Portland Urban Living Architecture Symposium – September 13 at the Billy Frank Jr. Conference Center. Register today!