Speakers plenary programme

During Rethinking Rooftops 2023, visitors heared the rooftop facts and values they needed for their next rooftop conversation and could get excited about possible futures of the city and the role rooftops can play. We’ve got great examples of pioneers who personally spearheaded green revolutions, we learned how grass root initiatives can radically change our cities and how we can use design to get the best combination of nature and technology. Let’s rethink rooftops!

Ieke Benschop – Rooftops: facts & values

Nationaal Daken Plan (National Rooftop Plan) has done research about the facts, values and myths surrounding multifunctional rooftop use. She will invalidate myths surrounding rooftops, uncovering the facts about water retention, biodiversity, energy and public use of rooftops. Keep your notebooks handy, because this will fuel your future rooftop conversations.

Michael Hardman

Michael Hardman is professor of Urban Sustainability at the University of Salford and co-lead of the Salford Care and Urban Farm Hub. His work surrounds exploring new ways of enabling sustainability within cities, from radical greening to urban agriculture, guerrilla gardening and beyond. He has been involved in over 50 projects in Africa, North America, Europe and across the UK. He has a.o. the author of Informal Urban Agriculture, which critically explores the guerrilla gardening and urban farming movements.

Liesbeth van Heel – Green spaces to heal

Rooftop Hero Liesbeth van Heel will take us on the journey of creating a rooftop garden at Erasmus MC. This garden, on the eighth floor of the university medical center, was developed as a place to heal, leave stress behind and forget about being at the hospital. With this garden, the inner-city hospital not only contributes to water retention, cooling and biodiversity, but also provides a space to heal. It’s been clinically proven that nature has a positive effect on the recovery of patients and on burn-out prevention in staff. However, creating a substantial roof garden on top of a hospital building doesn’t come naturally, and it requires the design and project team to really go the extra mile and have a high drive to get this done. Liesbeth will tell us more about this garden, how it came together and what further research she’s planning. 

Indy Johar – crucial role of rooftops in city transition

Indy Johar is Co-Founder and Director of Dark Matter Labs, an international and multidisciplinary design team working across the globe to develop new methods for system change. According to Indy, we need to look at our cities differently to address big transitional issues (such as energy and climate). Rooftops can be vital for the future of the cities. But how will we use the space while safeguarding equality? When Rethinking Rooftops, Indy will help us to imagine the role rooftops have in our future.

Anja Overdiek – BiodiverCITY

Anja Overdiek is professor Cybersocial Design at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. Her field is techno-social contexts for sustainability transitions, its design method and competencies. She uses theoretical, design-led and action research methodology based on a ‘more-than-human-centred’ approach. According to Anja, nature and technology can go hand in hand, but we need to use a different design attitude to make that work.