Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture


Landscape Architecture


Landscape architecture is the domain that lies at the crossroads of many disciplines. Perhaps the most apparent of those disciplines are art and science. A successful landscape architect is one who understands this intersection and consciously designs to enhance the function of both aesthetics and the environment. The green roof is an example of a landscape architectural design that can incorporate both aesthetic and environmental function. The green roof also has potential social and economic benefits within the urban context. The structure and technology of the green roof is well understood, however an extensive literature search on the green roof reveals a complete lack of critical and theoretical analysis. It is essential for landscape architects to look at the critical issues of green roof design in order to accept and promote this sustainable design practice. This study is a critical analysis of the cultural questions that surround the green roof within an urban environment.;It is important to understand the evolution and structure of the green roof in order to critique it. Although they look like similar entities, the green roof differs in function from the common rooftop garden. A simple typology is included within the study and classifies and defines the similarities and differences between rooftop gardens and green roofs. Furthermore, an historical overview examines the evolution of both the rooftop garden and the green roof from ancient Mesopotamia through present-day North America. In order to create a critical dialogue and bring the issues of the green roof to the forefront of landscape architectural design, a much-needed critical dialogue addresses some of the cultural questions behind the green roof concept. The analysis concludes with a commentary on the future opportunities for green roof design.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Sandra Lynn Peterson



File Format


File Size

102 pages