By Susana Toboso (UAB), Xavier Gabarrell (UAB), Gara Villalba (UAB), Cristina Madrid (UAB), Ramiro Gonzalez (UAB), Caroline Bini (Groupe One)


This chapter is an introduction to social aspects generated by a Rooftop Greenhouse project (RTG). Those aspects are influencing your project differently depending on its development phase, therefore this chapter has been divided in several parts and integrated in the respective development phases

The methodology to analyse your RTG from a social point of view will outline the elements to be considered for a social analysis and provide a step-by-step methodology for different types of RTG implementations.


Urban agriculture is normally associated with crops at the ground level and is appreciated for its benefits to the community. It is mainly perceived as a socially oriented activity, including recreational and leisure projects that are highly valued by citizens. However, profit urban farming initiatives are less accepted, since food security is not currently perceived as a problem in most European cities (however, this point is changing faster due to the COVID19 pandemic (see figure bellow), and it relies on a recreational goal that is currently prioritised over a commercial vision. Among consumers, products from urban farming are expected to be fresher and of a better quality because they are harvested just before consumption. Consumers prefer urban farming products to conventional rural products if they meet specific criteria: high quality, regionality, organic production, or the inclusion of additional social benefits.

Figure: news about the use of the rooftops in Covid-19 lockdowns.

Figure A.2 news about the use of the rooftops in Covid-19 lockdowns.png

Different considerations have to be examined when a novel project is implemented. Rooftop Greenhouses (RTGs) are quite a new system in cities (see different systems deployable on roofs in the figure bellow), and the social aspect should be considered too. Different studies have analysed the social acceptance of these projects among stakeholders using different quantitative and qualitative methods (Sanyé-Mengual et al., 2016; Specht et al., 2016; Specht and Sanyé-Mengual, 2017). Other studies have examined the barriers and opportunities of their implementation on urban roofs (Zambrano et al., 2020; Cerón-Palma et al., 2012), and concluded that barriers related to agreement among neighbours and organisational issues still remained to be overcome.

Figure: list of possible applications on rooftops

Figure A.1 the list of possible applications on rooftops.png

We propose a bi-directional reflection at the beginning of the project. The first one is the consumption pattern of the people living in the urban area where the RTG is proposed, which can vary considerably depending on the employment status, age group, or type of family structure (Toboso-Chavero et al., 2020). A survey about consumption patterns is an option to be considered before developing the project (See the results of a survey conducted by the Autonomous University of Barcelona and a study conducted for the FertileCity project). The second reflection is focused on the residents’ opinions for a successful implementation of the RTG. Many studies advocate in favour of different forms of participation of the general public and stakeholders in decision-making when their daily life is concerned (Bidwell, 2016; Walker and Devine-Wright, 2008). Different opinions are important and collecting their diversity can help to overcome possible issues. This can be done using participatory processes or questionnaires.


The general purpose is to recommend a methodology to carry out a social analysis in this type of novel project, aimed at their social acceptance and long-term success.