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When the Greater London Authority launched the Living Roofs campaign in November 2003 we wanted green roofs, roof gardens and roof terraces to be as common in London as they are in other European cities.

Living roofs create new outdoor spaces, enhance biodiversity, reduce flood risk, provide insulation and improve the appearance of our cityscape. New construction techniques allow for different types of living roofs, from meadows and other wildlife habitats to allotments, formal gardens and even golf courses. Yet the construction industry has been slow to embrace their benefits.

Design for London is working across the Greater London Authority Group to ensure that our property portfolio leads by example, with projects such as the West Ham Bus Garage, which incorporates a sedum roof and rainwater harvesting, and our zero-carbon development at Gallions Reach. We have also been working with the London boroughs to develop a more supportive policy framework and to raise awareness of the advantages of living roofs.

One of the central aims of the London Plan is to make the capital a better place to live as its population continues to grow. As the city becomes denser, access to outdoor space is at a premium.

This supplement is part of our campaign to support and showcase successful projects in London. The following pages illustrate how developers and designers are finding imaginative ways of responding to the fundamental human desire for sunlight and outdoor space within the confines of the contemporary, compact city.

Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London.

Richard Rogers, chief adviser to the Mayor of London on architecture and urbanism

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