Pusula / Ππούσουλας

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The first public urban ROOFTOP garden and social lab in Cyprus

Help Cyprus find its direction while bringing your ideas to life!
G.R.O.W G.R.O.W       12 comments    Created Date: 01/04/2020
Rooftop Garden as a community space (Getty Salad Rooftop Garden, LA, USA)
Rooftop Garden as a community space (Getty Salad Rooftop Garden, LA, USA)

Proposal code: Pusula / Ππούσουλας-2020-04-101

An urban rooftop garden and social lab which promotes sustainability, increases citizen's participation and well-being, while interacting with nature.


Imagine how our cities would look if we used the flat roofs of our buildings for gardening and socializing!


Our proposal is a rooftop project that aims:

  • to create valuable datasets
  • acquire knowledge
  • share information in the fields of building energy efficiency, urban heat island effect, stormwater run-off and collection, food security, solar energy and the social impact of urban rooftop gardens, in communities in Cyprus.

The project will consist of a prototype urban container garden to grow both organic food for local consumption, herbs and other plants essential for biodiversity and improving air quality. The prototype will also contain small or bigger photovoltaic panels, water harvesting systems and composting facilities. We hope the garden will attract bees to create urban beehives through a curated choice of flowers and pollen.

In addition, the rooftop garden will also have a social and cultural function, serving as a communal space to reinvigorate an underused surface of an urban building. On the rooftop, space will be reserved as an open-air multi-functional discussion space and a workshop/DIY section. The garden will also have an enclosed space which will contain a kitchen and a bar. This could be used as a scientific R&D lab, which will contain a data processing centre, that will track a number of indicators including soil quality, nitrogen oxide particles, energy efficiency improvements and ambient temperature changes.  In this way, it will become a “smart” garden and the entire project will be connected into a real-time data-tracking system.

This will be a self-sustainable rooftop, based on the principles of circularity. The aim is to use only renewable sources of energy (wind and solar) to power the entire project and attempt to eliminate all types of waste and emissions.


Social aims:

  • Create the first publicly accessible urban rooftop garden in the island as a means for community development in central yet neglected urban areas.
  • Through the organisation of events and workshops citizens will also have numerous opportunities to exchange and share knowledge on various topics related to agriculture as well as culture and more general themes. 
  • Through various activities on the roof garden, citizens will generally benefit from learning how to grow their own organic food, how to reduce energy consumption and how to exploit open air spaces for cultivation. 
  • Research has shown that urban farming gardens have a positive impact on citizens' mental health through contact with nature and others. This will reduce feelings of loneliness and symptoms of depression that are especially observed in urban environments.
  • To challenge social and bicommunal narratives and entrenched systems around the differentiation of people through the social lab, for community interactions between the local communities: Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, as well as other minorities (e.g.migrants and refugees).
  • The garden also prototypes a model for social interactions between conflictual communities in a natural environment, through a unique program of cultural, educational, civic and sustainability-related activities that are inclusive and promote participatory methodologies.
  • The plan, design and management of the green roof will be done in an inclusive manner, taking advantage of the local community’s assets, inspiration and potential with the intention of creating a sustainable community space that promotes people’s health, happiness and well being.


Environmental aims:

  • To support Cypriot cities in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • To increase local food security by experimenting with different varieties and crops.
  • To study the impact of urban gardens on energy efficiency and temperature patterns, and create valuable scientific evidence-backed data for changes to policy and legislation.There is currently no existing legal framework around the use of rooftops for gardening and social activities. By creating this rooftop garden, we are proactively engaging with local government and encouraging them to keep up with the rest of the world and make a positive change.
  • To improve local biodiversity and reduce urban climate impact.
  • To create an open-source database of scientific and social best practices to have a knock-on effect in Cyprus and the Mediterranean.


Who we are:

G.R.O.W (Green Roof Optimisation Worklab) is an interdisciplinary team of young urban sustainability enthusiasts which was formed during the Climathon Nicosia 2019. GROW won the 1st prize with the idea of a rooftop urban garden and social lab in old-town Nicosia. 

Alexia Kalourkoti, Hrishabh Sandilya, Marina Kyriakou, Pantelis Kyriakidis, Roberto Sciffo, Stefani Demetriou

References (click on the links):

Dakakker (Rooftop farm in Rotterdam)

Roofmatters (Milan's initiative promoting multifunctional green roofs)

Tak for Maten (Oslo's premier rooftop farm)