Railway Opens Tokyo's Largest Rooftop Farm

JR East railway, one of Tokyo's largest railway operators, has opened a 535 sq.m. (5758 sq.ft.) rooftop farm on top of the company's Lumine Ogikubo Building.

Part of a series of buildings linked to the Ogikubo railway and metro station, the garden is being billed as the largest rooftop farm on a commercial building in Tokyo. Althoug calling it a "farm" gives the impression that it will house commercial agriculture (like this one in Montreal). In fact, the "Soradofarm Lumine" is more like a rooftop community garden where Tokyoites who want to get their hands dirty can rent out plots. (So far I've only found this architects illustration, but I'm hoping for some photos before long.)

JR East has opened up similar Soradofarms on two other buildings in Tokyo, aiming to reduce heating and cooling costs, cut back on the urban heat island effect, and provide green space for local residents. Rental community garden space may seem odd to westerners used to large lawns and yards, but in space starved Tokyo the opportunity to have a large plot is something many gardeners would jump at.

One of the things that is striking about Tokyo is the length that people go to to green it's narrow streets with micro gardens and potted plants. In a skyline of towering glass and steel buildings, the streets are lined with hundreds of small green oasis. I was there this past Fall for my brother's wedding and I've really never seen a place where people take such care to bring some greenery to an otherwise narrow and grey streetscape. The photo below is typical of how some store and home owners make use of every conceivable plantable space (even the base of a traffic sign!).


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This is a blog for news and views on the future of sustainable cites. A major revamp is in the works. Until then I am keeping this version up as an archive of my past writing.

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