Low-maintenance subtropical green roofs. Spontaneous vegetation and substrate depth


  • Brenda Chaves Coelho Leite University of São Paulo (Brazil)
  • Lucas Gobatti University of São Paulo (Brazil)
  • Isabela Gamba Huttenlocher University of São Paulo (Brazil)




green roofs, spontaneous vegetation, biodiversity, colonization, nature-based solutions


Spontaneous and ruderal plants can be the key to a low-cost, low-maintenance urban Green Infrastructure that can adapt to the local climate context. In addition to providing a wide range of Ecosystem Services, such species can survive in environments altered by humans and withstand conditions adverse to them, such as water scarcity and shallow substrate. The paper aims to systematically identify the effects exerted by substrate depth during the first months of vegetation growth using the Point-Intercept method in low-maintenance extensive green roofs. Contrary to previous research focusing on vegetation growth in temperate climates, experimentation in a humid subtropical climate can help to fill a gap by assessing the long-term potential of roofs with heterogeneous spontaneous species establishment to improve urban ecology and its natural regeneration.


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Author Biographies

Brenda Chaves Coelho Leite, University of São Paulo (Brazil)

Civil Engineer and PhD, she is an Assistant Professor at the Civil Construction Engineering Department of the Polytechnic School. She has experience in thermal comfort and air quality in buildings, the energy efficiency of buildings, green roofs, Nature-based Solutions, building performance simulation, building energy efficiency, computational fluid dynamics, HVAC systems, technologies for underfloor air distribution and radiant panels, individualized thermal comfort, and automation and control systems applied to HVAC.
E-mail: bcleite@usp.br

Lucas Gobatti, University of São Paulo (Brazil)

He is an MSc Student at the Professional Master’s Program in Construction Innovation of the Civil Construction Engineering Department, Polytechnic School. He has experience in the construction of Nature-based Solutions such as green roofs, green walls and stormwater planters. Investigates water quantity performance of green roofs for tropical climates and their vegetation dynamics, with experience in operating and building sensors and collecting laboratory data.
E-mail: lucas.gobatti@usp.br

Isabela Gamba Huttenlocher, University of São Paulo (Brazil)

She is an Environmental Engineering Undergraduate Student at the Hydraulics and Environmental Engineering Department of the Polytechnic School. She has experience in collecting and analysing laboratory data in green roof models towards vegetation dynamics and contributes to Amphibia, a society for socio-environmental Engineering projects within the Polytechnic School.
E-mail: isagamba@usp.br


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Final testbed with the grid for point-intercept method (credit: the Authors). AGATHÓN 11 | 2022



30-06-2022 — Updated on 18-11-2023


How to Cite

Chaves Coelho Leite, B., Gobatti, L. and Gamba Huttenlocher, I. (2023) “Low-maintenance subtropical green roofs. Spontaneous vegetation and substrate depth”, AGATHÓN | International Journal of Architecture, Art and Design, 11(online), pp. 258–265. doi: 10.19229/2464-9309/11232022.



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