Why not? I know what I would rather have…give me a lush green living wall instead of a bare brick or rendered division any day. They may seem a little abstract at first when surrounded by conventional buildings, like islands in the middle of the sea, but I predict they will be quite the norm in the near future. They are simply too functional not to be. Considering the growing popularity of inner urban dwellings and space limited sub-divisions green walls have the ability to fill a niche. That being making our environments more livable by insulating them from extreme temperatures , improving air quality, reducing noise, growing food in tight spaces, and bringing life back into cities. On top of that they just look cool.

I know for one that I feel a lot more relaxed, centered and focused surrounded by plants emitting scents, colours and sounds, like the wind rustling through leaves, as opposed to heavily engineered artificial structures. It makes me feel as we live in a world where we are connected rather than one we dominate. Knocking it down because it may cause a mild inconvenience, or because we have lost an understanding of how intertwined we are with the natural world. I mean if green walls can cool local climate around a building in a city by 3.6-11.3C and perform better in hotter regions why wouldn’t we have buildings like this all over a city like Adelaide? They don’t need to be elaborate, expensive structures and aren’t practical for every location but there sure could be a hell of a lot more of them.

Worldwide, installation of green walls and roofs is starting to become more widespread. Governments in western Europe, the UK, Asia and the USA amongst others are acknowledging the effectiveness of these structures in reducing the need for expensive storm water treatment, reducing urban heat island effects and improving the livability of cities. So much so that they are encouraging uptake via legislation. The City of Linz in Austria for example has been paying developers to install green roofs since 1983!

So what’s holding us back? Probably lack of knowledge. Most green walls are thought to involve high degrees of engineering and maintenance however a green wall can be as simple as establishing a trellis and growing a colorful native climber like Hardenbergia spp. (http://www.austraflora.com/portfolio_category/climbers/) or an edible vine such as a passionfruit, kiwi fruit or grape. All you need is a basic knowledge of the type of plant you want and the environment it needs, secure your frame and plant away. Before you know it you will have a functional low-cost green wall of your own, one that looks after you as much as you look after it…what a bonus!