North American Prairie Conference


Date of this Version



Published in Prairie Pioneers: Ecology, History and Culture: Proceedings of the Eleventh North American Prairie Conference, August 7-11, 1988, Lincoln, Nebraska (Lincoln, NE 1989).


The concept of demonstration prairies on the roofs of industrial and commercial premises is recommended as a means of stimulating interest in prairie ecology and of providing educational facilities in urban areas. The economics of such rooftop locations for prairie studies and research depends upon the multiple use of land for seemingly incompatible activities. The use of selected vegetation as an integral part of the structure provides the opportunity for the prairie to invade the city, while potentially offering the benefits of effective insulation, microclimatic modification, and reductions in roof maintenance costs. This would be one method to meet the unchallenged thrust of urban expansion at the cost of rural productivity. The use of roof areas for demonstration prairie research in urban areas would reveal the economic, psychological, and aesthetic value of introducing ecological influences to the city.