Linz sits on the Danube and is the capital of Upper Austria. With a population of 190,000 people it is an important for it’s steel and chemical industries, and it was one of the first cities in the world to have a compulsory green roof policy.
The main drivers for the development of Linz’s green roof policies in the 1980s were:
- The large and rapid loss of green areas to industrial and commercial development,
- Serious environmental concerns over air quality
As the City became highly industrialised, with the accompanying air quality and loss green space issues, the population increasingly concerned at the environmental impacts of the situation on the health and quality of life. The environmental situation in Linz was viewed by the 1980s as ‘alarming’ as ‘alarming’ and thus the City sought to create a greener city. This approach had a great deal of backing from the public at large.
Green Roofs Become Legally Binding
In 1985 the municipality of Linz documented for the first time both the loss of green areas and the quality of life in the built environment through a unique mapping process, known as the Green Space Plan. Although there were a number of green roofs within the city’s boundary, including one of the largest in Austria – the Schachemeyer Factory green roof, this research demonstrated the need. The research became the basis for legally binding building plans, which included the obligation for building green roofs.
Green roofs were seen as effective solutions to ‘greening’ in areas of Linz where land use was not compatible with open space development. This was particularly important in commercial and industrial zones; As a result, green roof policies were introduced in Linz in 1985 as part of legally binding and compulsory building plans. The direct impact of this strict measure can be seen below.
The Creation of A Green Roof Incentive
Fours after the develop years later in 1989 the City of Linz started with a generous financial incentive for the building owners, by sponsoring green roofs up to 30% of the costs of the green roof, which was reduced in 2005 to 5%.
Linz probably has one of the largest areas of green roofs in an indstrial zone in Europe if no the world.
Over the past 20 years all these measures have resulted in over 404 green roofs being installed in what is by all accounts a relatively small city. The total area prior to 2007 was 400,000m² (equivalent to 40 football-pitches). About 90% of this area is extensive green roofs and 10% intensive green roofs. However the recent covering of the main motorway through the City with an intensive green roof (which talk all the city’s annual green roof budget increased the total area by at least 40%.
For more information: Linz Municipality