Vertical Gardens

Instead of greenery being planted around buildings, lately I’ve been noticing how much greenery is planted ON buildings!

For the price of an apartment in Tokyo ($16,772.54 per square meter), you could own digs in San Francisco AND New York City ( ($6,414.85/sq m + $10,046.32/sq m), so it’s no surprise that traditional gardens are a luxury few can afford. But the city is a “heat island” – a good 15° hotter than the countryside surrounding it – so since 2001, all new buildings larger than 1000 square meters have been required to have at least 20% of their roof space covered in living plants.

The restaurant in the ground floor of this highrise stood its entry garden on its head instead of bemoaning the fact that it would have been impossible to plant a traditional-feeling Japanese garden in the miserly strip of setback between the sidewalk and the wall.

Even the Takadanobaba train station where I get off every morning has some walls planted in a green chessboard!

Read a novel set in Tokyo

A young woman dressed as a Gothic Lolita is found dead in a car with a pair of strangers. But the more Yumi Hata learns about her friend’s death, the more she’s convinced it was murder…read more