Strategies to Promote Greenery in Urban Boundary Wall Facades: A Case Study in Residential Areas of Colombo district, Sri Lanka


  • W.C.M.S. Madushanka Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Gangodawila, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka
  • G.N. Samarasekara Faculty of Engineering, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Gangodawila, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka
  • K.C. Ellawala Faculty of Engineering University of Ruhuna, Hapugala, Galle, Sri Lanka



Facade greenery, Green infrastructure, Green boundary walls, Strategies, challenges


Understanding the public perceptions towards green infrastructure can be instrumental in identifying effective strategies for greening.  This research focuses on the less exploited green boundary walls among the different green infrastructure options. A questionnaire survey was conducted among three hundred twenty-eight residents in residential areas of Colombo district, Sri Lanka, to understand the public perceptions that affect green urban boundary walls. Using Likert scales, participants expressed their perception of benefits and challenges related to greening boundary walls along with socio-economic data. Relaxation effects, improvement of aesthetic appearance, becoming close to nature, and improving air quality were among the highest-rated benefits. Lack of knowledge and time and money requirement was identified as significant challenges. Misconceptions about property damages and nuisance to the owner are demotivators for nearly 38% of the sample as determined by the cluster analysis. Interventions such as providing relevant knowledge on methods of green wall construction and maintenance methods and subsidies can be recommended. Raising awareness through pilot programs and opportunities for experience sharing may motivate people towards greening boundary walls. The study concludes with strategies applicable in motivating residents towards greening their boundary walls.


Akreim, M. A. S., & Suzer, O. (2018). Motivators for Green Buildings: A Review. Environmental Management and Sustainable Development, 7(2): 137.

Azkorra, Z., Pérez, G., Coma, J., Cabeza, L. F., Bures, S., Álvaro, J. E., Erkoreka, A., & Urrestarazu, M. (2015). Evaluation of green walls as a passive acoustic insulation system for buildings. Applied Acoustics, 89: 46–56.

Balram, S., & Dragićević, S. (2005). Attitudes toward urban green spaces: integrating questionnaire survey and collaborative GIS techniques to improve attitude measurements. Landscape and Urban Planning, 71(2–4): 147–162.

Chaudhuri, S. and Kumar, A. (2022). ‘Urban greenery for air pollution control: a meta-analysis of current practice, progress, and challenges’, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 194(3) .

doi: 10.1007/s10661-022-09808-w.

Teotónio, I., Silva, C. M. & Cruz, C. O. (2021). Economics of green roofs and green walls: A literature review, Sustainable Cities and Society, 69. doi: 10.1016/j.scs.2021.102781.

Collins, R., Schaafsma, M., & Hudson, M. D. (2017). Land Use Policy The value of green walls to urban biodiversity. Land Use Policy, 64: 114–123.

De Silva, B. C., Perera, N., & Denipitiya, N. (2021). The Vegetated Building Facades and their Contribution to Environmental Sustainability. Cities People Places : An International Journal on Urban Environments, 5(1): 24.

Dennis D.Baldocchi, Bruce B.Hicks, P. C. (1987). A canopy stomatal resistance model for gaseous deposition to vegetated surfaces. Atmospheric Environment, 21(1): 91–101.

Dunnett, N., & Kingsbury, N. (2008). Planting green roofs and living walls. Portland.

Elgizawy, E. M. (2016). The Effect of Green Facades in Landscape Ecology. Procedia Environmental Sciences, 34: 119–130.

Fernandez-Cañero, R., Emilsson, T., Fernandez-Barba, C., & Herrera Machuca, M. Á. (2013). Green roof systems: A study of public attitudes and preferences in southern Spain. Journal of Environmental Management, 128: 106–115.

Francis, R. A., & Lorimer, J. (2011). Urban reconciliation ecology: The potential of living roofs and walls. Journal of Environmental Management, 92(6): 1429–1437.

Gao, X., & Asami, Y. (2007). Effect of urban landscapes on land prices in two Japanese cities. Landscape and Urban Planning, 81(1–2): 155–166.

Gates, D. M. (1968). Transpiration and Leaf Temperature. Annual Review of Plant Physiology, 19(1): 211–238.

Greater London Authority. (2008). Living Roofs and Walls. chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/viewer.html?

Haaland, C., & van den Bosch, C. K. (2015). Challenges and strategies for urban green-space planning in cities undergoing densification: A review. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, 14(4): 760–771.

Hall, J. M., Handley, J. F., & Ennos, A. R. (2012). The potential of tree planting to climate-proof high density residential areas in Manchester, UK. Landscape and Urban Planning, 104(3–4): 410–417.

House, M. heath. (2009). North texas stakeholders: perceptions of extensive green roofs (Issue December). The Universtity of Texas at Arlington.

Jayasundara, J. H. D. K. H., Samarasekara, G. N., & Nandapala, K, C. G. G. T. (2017). Potential of Improving Air Quality and Thermal Comfort Via Green Boundary Walls. Proceesdings of 5th International Symposium on Advances in Civil and Environmental Engineering Practices for Sustainable Development, 161–168.

Jayaweera, N., Rodrigo, S., Nadaraja, J., Rajapaksha, U., & Jayasinghe, C. (2018). Green space: A Luxury or a Necessity? Green Spaces in Condominium Sites in Sri Lanka. Cities People Places : An International Journal on Urban Environments, 3(1): 49.

Jim, C. Y. (2015). Greenwall classification and critical design-management assessments. Ecological Engineering, 77:348–362.

Jim, C. Y., & Chen, W. Y. (2006). Perception and attitude of residents toward urban green spaces in Guangzhou (China). Environmental Management, 38(3): 338–349.

Koraim, Y. A. A. L., & Elkhateeb, D. M. R. (2017). Resident's Perceptions towards the Application of Vertical Landscape in Cairo, Egypt. International Journal of Architectural and Environmental Engineering, World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, 11(7), 993–997.

Li, L., & Pussella, P. G. R. N. I. (2017). Is colombo city, Sri Lanka secured for urban green space standards? Applied Ecology and Environmental Research, 15(3): 1789–1799.

Madushanka, W. C. M. S., Althaf, M. F. M., Sajjad, M. S. M., & G, Tushara Chaminda G, S. G. N. (2019). An analysis of frequently observed roadside green boundary wall facades in Western Province , Sri Lanka : Visual configurations , cost and operational challenges. Proceedings of the 7th International Symposium on Advances in Civil and Environmental Engineering Practices for Sustainable Development (ACEPS-2019), 211–217.

Mazzali, U., Peron, F., & Scarpa, M. (2012). Thermo-physical performances of living walls via field measurements and numerical analysis. WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment, 165: 251–259.

Oberndorfer, E., Lundholm, J., Bass, B., Coffman, R. R., Doshi, H., Dunnett, N., Gaffin, S., Köhler, M., & Liu, K. K. Y. (2007). Green Roofs as Urban Ecosystems : Ecological Structures , Functions , and Services. 57.

Papadopoulou, G. I. (2013). Green Walls as element of bioclimatic design in Mediterranean Urban Buildings. November. ttp://

Peck, S. W., & Callaghan, Chris, Monica E. Kuhn, B. B. (1999). Greenbacks from Green Roofs: Forging a new industry in Canada. In Canada Mortage and Housing Corporation (Issue March).

Peck, S. W., Callaghan, C., Kuhn, M. E., & Bass, B. (1999). Greenbacks from green roofs: Forging a new industry in Canada status report on benefits, barriers and opportunities for green roof and vertical garden technology diffusion. Environment, March, 78.

Perini, K., Ottelé, M., Fraaij, A. L. A., Haas, E. M., & Raiteri, R. (2011). Vertical greening systems and the effect on air flow and temperature on the building envelope. Building and Environment, 46(11): 2287–2294.

Radić, M., Dodig, M. B., & Auer, T. (2019). Green facades and living walls-A review establishing the classification of construction types and mapping the benefits. Sustainability (Switzerland), 11(17): 1–23.

Ramaiah, M., & Avtar, R. (2019). Urban Green Spaces and Their Need in Cities of Rapidly Urbanizing India: A Review. Urban Science, 3(3); 94.

Rathnasiri, O. K. M., Jayasinghe, G. Y., Halwatura, R. U., & Weerasinghe, K. G. N. H. (2021). Perception evaluation of innovative vertical gardens as one of the green architectural structures. Proceedings of the 8th International Symposium on Advances in Civil and Environmental Engineering Practices for Sustainable Development (ACEPS-2021). 326-334

Rigolon, A., Browning, M., Lee, K., & Shin, S. (2018). Access to Urban Green Space in Cities of the Global South: A Systematic Literature Review. Urban Science, 2(3): 67.

Rosasco, P. (2018). Economic benefits and costs of vertical greening systems. In Nature Based Strategies for Urban and Building Sustainability. Elsevier Inc.

Senanayake, I. P., Welivitiya, W. D. D. P., & Nadeeka, P. M. (2013). Assessment of Green Space Requirement and Site Analysis in Colombo, Sri Lanka – A Remote Sensing and GIS Approach. International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research, 4(12): 29–34.

Shashua-Bar, L., Pearlmutter, D., & Erell, E. (2011). The influence of trees and grass on outdoor thermal comfort in a hot-arid environment. International Journal of Climatology, 31(10): 1498–1506.

Sheweka, S., & Magdy, N. (2011). The living walls as an approach for a healthy urban environment. Energy Procedia, 6: 592–599.

Tian, Y., Jim, C. Y., & Tao, Y. (2012). Challenges and Strategies for Greening the Compact City of Hong Kong. Journal of Urban Planning and Development, 138(2), 101–109.

Tsantopoulos, G., Varras, G., Chiotelli, E., Fotia, K., & Batou, M. (2018). Public perceptions and attitudes toward green infrastructure on buildings: The case of the metropolitan area of Athens, Greece. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, 34: 181–195.

Tzoulas, K., Korpela, K., Venn, S., Yli-Pelkonen, V., Kaźmierczak, A., Niemela, J., & James, P. (2007). Promoting ecosystem and human health in urban areas using Green Infrastructure: A literature review. Landscape and Urban Planning, 81(3): 167–178.

Veisten, K., Smyrnova, Y., Klæboe, R., Hornikx, M., Mosslemi, M., & Kang, J. (2012). Valuation of Green Walls and Green Roofs as Soundscape Measures: Including Monetised Amenity Values Together with Noise-attenuation Values in a Cost-benefit Analysis of a Green Wall Affecting Courtyards. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 9(11); 3770–3788.

Weber, F., Kowarik, I., & Säumel, I. (2014). A walk on the wild side: Perceptions of roadside vegetation beyond trees. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, 13(2): 205–212.

White, E. V., & Gatersleben, B. (2011). Greenery on residential buildings: Does it affect preferences and perceptions of beauty? Journal of Environmental Psychology, 31(1): 89–98.

Yang, J., & Santamouris, M. (2018). Urban Heat Island and Mitigation Technologies in Asian and Australian Cities—Impact and Mitigation. Urban Science, 2(3): 74.

Zahir, M. H. M., Raman, S. N., Mohamed, M. F., Jamiland, M., & Nopiah, Z. M. (2014). The Perception of Malaysian Architects towards the Implementation of Green Roofs: A Review of Practices, Methodologies and Future Research. E3S Web of Conferences, 3 (January).




How to Cite

Madushanka , W. ., Samarasekara, G., & Ellawala , K. . (2022). Strategies to Promote Greenery in Urban Boundary Wall Facades: A Case Study in Residential Areas of Colombo district, Sri Lanka. International Journal of Built Environment and Sustainability, 9(3), 61–73.