Green Roofs, an Opiate for the Rich?

by Rebekah T.

At first glance on a small-scaled map, green roofs look to be overlapping many national historic register districts. However, upon closer examination- green roofs and historic districts seldom overlap, especially considering the number of green roofs in Chicago. Green roofs then, could be assumed a more contemporary design practice- one that would not often be supported by preservation advocates. Where green roofs do overlap historic districts, it is likely that they occur on buildings that are non-contributing to the district.  

Green Roofs have a tendency to be focused in more-wealthy Community Areas, which is ironically also where historic districts tend to be focused. As visible on the small-scaled map, the most concentrated portion of green roofs is near the loop and radiates out much like the CTA lines. Moving to the north is the second densest area of green roofs. Also visible in this map is the average electricity usage per community area. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be any correlation between green roof concentration and reduced energy consumption. However, many factors, including incomplete or insufficient data could be skewing the results.