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Yoriyuki Yamada knows what it’s like to face a tough crowd. A decade ago, as a young landscape architect at Japanese construction giant Kajima, he tried to sell others on the idea of rooftop gardens. He told them how the greenery would act as a buffer against the summer heat, reducing energy costs, and would make our cities better places to live in. He talked about countering the heat-island effect, which is caused by buildings and streets in a city trapping heat, and had the data to back it up. “In the end, most companies opted for a low-cost…

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