CitiesAlive: NightLife at the Academy

Dig in the dirt, eat flowers, and taste honey grown atop San Francisco restaurants at a special NightLife dedicated to green roofs and walls.

Event Details


California Academy of Sciences
5 Music Concourse Dr, San Francisco, California 94118 United States


October 25, 2013 from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm


$12 ($10 for members of the Cal Academy)

swissnex San Francisco teams up with CitiesAlive to bring you an evening on the wonder and possibility of green roofs and walls.

Under the Academy’s living, breathing roof, NightLife teams up with CitiesAlive to celebrate the benefits and beauty of living green architecture. At this special edition of NightLife at the California Academy of Sciences, bee advocate Terry Oxford, UrbanBeeSF, serves fresh honey and answers all your buzzing questions. Scout living roofs throughout the city (even the secret ones) and get a microscopic look at the diverse insects that call them home, then take a virtual tour of green buildings around the country with the pros at Virtually Green. Explore the greenest museum on the planet with a scavenger hunt and win great, green prizes from eco-friendly organizations. Academy botanist Frank Almeda will discuss how the museum’s 2.5-acre living roof serves as an important ecosystem for birds, bees and the building itself. In the Piazza, dance to a soundscape of dub-step, roots and dancehall by DJ Sep (Dub Mission).

Kristin McArdle, author of the Vegetable Uprising blog, shares a selection of edible flowers grown on the roof of Quince. Visitors can dig in the dirt with Swiss startup VEG and the City, specialists in urban farming and hear from experts how green roofs in Switzerland are helping bring back a native orchid that was nearly extinct and much more on the topic of urban agriculture and green architecture. Expect to be delighted and greeted by many of the best examples of what can be done on roofs, walls and in urban gardens by academics, gardeners and entrepreneurs from the Bay Area and Switzerland!

Green roofs and walls can feed our cities, generate energy, manage water and provide untold benefits in beauty and biodiversity. Learn about plants on the skins of our buildings, and celebrate how they can lead to urban resilience with swissnex San Francisco and Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, hosts of the CitiesAlive Green Roof and Wall Conference, taking place October 23 – 26, 2013.

Related Events

CitiesAlive: 11th Annual Green Roof & Wall Conference

Parking Day: Urban Gardening with VEG and the City


Chiara Catalano

Chiara Catalano graduated as an architect in 2008 from the University of Siracusa (Italy). Her roots are strict connected to Catania, however, her home town in the valley of Etna Volcano. During her studies, she started to cooperate with an architectural firm focused on eco buildings and sustainability in Sicily. She started to get in touch with wooden structures, natural insulation materials, and natural (and breathable) finishings.
Between 2009 and 2010, she deepened her interests, attending courses, seminars and workshops all over Europe. In 2011 she moved to Palermo to further her education on eco engineering and land restoration, increasing her knowledge of applied ecology. Since then she has focused on green roofs for the Mediterranean climate, investigating habitat replication on roofs using the plant sociology approach. Since January 2013 she has been working toward her PhD in Technologies for Sustainability and Land Restoration from the Forestry and Agrarian Science department of the University of Palermo. She is also currently working at ZHAW (Zurich University of Applied Science) in the green roof research group. In October 2013 she will be a visiting student in Hannover at Leibniz University, Institute of Geobotany.


Eric Hager

Eric Hager attended The New School in New York City. Born and raised in Philadelphia, he was confronted by the obvious disparity of opportunity between the suburban wealthy and poor of the inner-city. After relocating to the Bay area, Eric founded start-up Farm-X in order to provide an integrated, sustainable and tech-forward solution for urban poverty reduction. He is committed to the idea that a transition to an industrial urban food system would not only create jobs, reduce crime and diet-related disease in deindustrialized communities, but is also compulsory for the successful realization of a socially just and environmentally sustainable future.


James Kahlin

James Kahlin is the owner of virtually green, which is a blend of green building research and online journalism. Virtually Green does case studies and design advice for green building and sustainable development projects, many of which end up online as immersive, interactive, data-rich virtual tours. Virtually Green also works on design and implementation of projects that integrate commercial ag into many aspects of urban buildings, campuses, and neighborhoods.


Wanda Keller

Wanda Keller is the Chief Garden Officer at VEG and the City and gardening engineer FH from ZHAW Waedenswil and a trained gardener who has successfully realized many urban gardening projects in and around Zurich, Switzerland. As a city gardening pioneer, she is also a founding member of the association Interkulturelle Gärten Schweiz and runs gardening projects for “Grün Stadt Zürich,” the city’s gardening department.


 Dimitri Meierhofer

Dimitri Meierhofer received his BA in 2012 in Environmental Engineering with a focus on Nature Management from Zurich University of Applied Sciences.


 Kristin McArdle

Kristin McArdle’s interest in the health and sustainability of cities was cemented as student of urban planning and community development. She is also a passionate foodie and gardener who founded Vegetable Uprising, a rooftop farming start-up that combines her interest in urban and environmental issues with her love of food and passion for gardening, after taking a Permaculture Design Course. Through her work with Vegetable Uprising, McArdle wants to make a positive contribution towards altering the urban landscape; making our cities more resilient, environmentally sustainable, and healthy.


Gudrun Ongania

Gudrun Ongania is founder and CEO of VEG and the City. In April 2012, she turned her passion into her profession: urban vegetable gardening. Being a change and project management consultant for seven years and an ambitious generalist, Gudrun moves business and technology forward. As a passionate vegetable gardener, she loves passing on her knowledge in private classes and company workshops. Next to running VEG and the City full time, she is a guest lecturer at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, in the field of change management.


Terry Oxford

Terry Oxford has been an environmentalist, activist and bee advocate since the 1980s. In 2008, she began practicing pesticide and medication free beekeeping on restaurant rooftops in San Francisco. She currently has 12 hives and does honey programs for Nopa, Quince, Cotogna, Jardiniere, and Tony’s Pizza Napolitana. She provides honeycomb and fresh honey for their menus when available.


Rafael Schneider

Rafael Schneider specializes in green roof biodiversity, including native orchids that grow on green roofs in Switzerland. He received his BS in Environmental Engineering with a Major in Urban Greening from the Zurich University of Applied Science, Wadenswil.


More Info

At the 11th annual CitiesAlive Green Roof and Wall Conference, an expected 1,000 delegates from the region and across North America – including designers, engineers, roofing professionals and planners – will hear from 100+ expert speakers on the role of living architecture to increase urban resiliency via food production, water management, and energy generation. Programming includes inspirational Awards of Excellence projects, new professional training courses, green roof / wall / wine tours, an industry expo, and a spectacular delegate reception at the famed California Academy of Sciences. Register here!

VEG and the City
VEG and the City‘s mission is to provide each city dweller with a vegetable garden fitting their own lifestyle and related gardening know-how. VEG and the City aims to re-connect the urban population with ideas around how our food grows, how it looks, and how you can grow it on your own. And all of this to trigger emotions, encounters and, in the end, happiness! The Swiss start-up is based on three pillars: a webshop selling urban gardening accessories, urban gardening classes, as well as harvesting stations and gardens for rent. In 2014 the first VEG and the City garden opens in Zurich.



Photo: Myleen Hollero

Event Photos