Gardens Flourish on Top of City Busses

February 1, 2011 by

 

Bus Roots is a living garden planted on the roofs of city buses. It’s an effort that rose out of New York City designer Marco Antonio Castro Cosio’s graduate thesis at New York University. The project aims to reclaim the forgotten space on the tops of city buses, while enhancing the quality of urban life by proliferating green spaces on these unused bus roofs. A prototype of the rolling gardens has been installed on the roof of the BioBus, a mobile science laboratory and the first bus with an extensive green roof system. It has been growing for five months while travelling around New York City and as far as Ohio.

Bus Roots joins the ranks of mobile gardens planted on trucks, trains, and other roving sites. Cosio explains his project as an exercise in “nomadic urban agriculture.”

Benefits
According to the bustop gardener, benefits include:
• Aesthetic Value
• Mitigation of Urban Heat Island Effect
• Acoustical and Thermal Insulation
• Storm Water Reduction and Management
• CO2 absorbtion
• Habitat Restoration
• Public Education and Recreation
• Reclaiming Forgotten Real Estate

Raising the Roots
Cosio estimates Bus Roots can add greatly to the city’s green space. Each public transit bus has a surface of 340 ft2., and The Metropolitan Transit Authority has a fleet of around 4,500 buses. Do the math.

“If a garden were planted on the roof of every one of the 4,500 buses in the city’s bus fleet,” calculates Cosio, his busses could add 35 acres of new rolling green space in the city.

For more info or to support the project, contact the designer.

55 Comments »

  1. Tweets that mention Gardens Flourish on Top of City Busses | Urban Gardens | Unlimited Thinking For Limited Spaces -- Topsy.com Pingback said:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Urban Gardens, Urban Gardens and Lilian Voshaar, Ellen Sousa. Ellen Sousa said: Wow! Gardens flourish on top of NYC Busses: http://bit.ly/fpVkdz RT @urbangardens […]

    — February 1, 2011 @ 13:39

  2. anon said:

    habitat restoration! hahaha

    any idea of the reduction in fuel efficiency due to the added weight?

    — February 1, 2011 @ 13:59

  3. Georgia said:

    How about solar panels on the roof to power the bus? I wonder if the bus could digest the plants and fuel themselves that way…

    — February 1, 2011 @ 22:18

  4. Anders said:

    Everything thats green is not green. A pretty strange idea, there must be millions of places to make green that would have a grater benificiary effect than plants on a busroof. It feels like people make a knot on them self trying to find new ways of being sustainable instead of implementing the systems availiable. But I guess everything is about making debate, lifting issues. It made me laugh and then be bit angry, so I guess its a success. thanks for a great blog by the way. a lot of nice reading!

    — February 2, 2011 @ 04:43

  5. Cindy Juliano said:

    I love it! I especially love the succulents. My 10 year old son just said “that looks like a rock garden”! He goes with me to all kinds of gardens and nurseries, and last spring on a visit to the NYBG he especially loved the rock gardens there (amazing and if you ever get to visit, check them out). We came home and created four mini rock gardens in pots. He is a huge succulent fan now, as am I! thanks for so many engaging posts on your blog.

    — February 2, 2011 @ 09:28

  6. Jayme said:

    This is a great use of wasted space. I would love to peer down from my apartment window (if I lived in one) to see all the driving roof top gardens atop busses.

    — February 2, 2011 @ 12:02

  7. Annie Haven/Authentic Haven Brand said:

    I think it’s classic just shows how easy it is to grow : ) Great share Annie

    — February 2, 2011 @ 12:46

  8. Robin Plaskoff Horton said:

    So many weighing in here with different opinions, that’s what I love about blogging! I see some of you feel the rooftop would be better used for solar panels and others feel that the added weight impacts the fuel use…it’s a great discussion, lets keep the dialog going.

    — February 2, 2011 @ 13:43

  9. Sheryl said:

    What do you think they did to protect the bus top gardens in the ice storm today?

    — February 2, 2011 @ 15:56

  10. Mary Anne said:

    It’s an interesting idea and now I’m thinking about places I don’t expect to see plants and gardens. Thanks!

    — February 3, 2011 @ 12:54

  11. Win a Lechuza Self-Watering Container:<br />Enter Our Think Outside the Planter Box Photo Contest! | Urban Gardens | Unlimited Thinking For Limited Spaces Pingback said:

    […] planted gardens that will transport you, literally and figuratively–cars, trucks, trains, and busses. Got an old claw-foot bathtub that has outlived its indoor life? Move it to the yard or patio and […]

    — March 18, 2011 @ 11:56

  12. NY: City Bus Gardens « the urban field guide Pingback said:

    […] this living roof on city busses project by  Marco Antonio Castro Cosio. For the full article, go here. But I have to point out his inspiring dream of turning all the city busses in NY into rolling green […]

    — March 28, 2011 @ 15:09

  13. Green Walls – Green Busses | Plantworks Inc Pingback said:

    […] Gardens Flourish on Top of City Busses […]

    — June 11, 2011 @ 13:41

  14. in my other life « the paris apartment Pingback said:

    […] urbangardensweb.com […]

    — June 30, 2011 @ 23:41

  15. Gabb said:

    >>>What do you think they did to protect the bus top gardens in the ice storm today?>>>

    Parked it under a bridge, and went and got beer?

    — August 25, 2011 @ 03:00

  16. Robin Plaskoff Horton said:

    That’s a possibility!

    — August 25, 2011 @ 18:23

  17. Gardens Thrive on Top of City Busses | Wake Up World Pingback said:

    […] By urbangardensweb.com […]

    — February 27, 2012 @ 19:36

  18. that lung nam said:

    The world is experiencing the largest wave of urban growth in history. For the first time in history, more than half the worldâ??s population is living in cities. By 2050, according to a United Nations estimate, the worldâ??s cities will be home to more than 9 billion. How will we feed these urbanites?

    — March 2, 2012 @ 04:21

  19. Bus Roof Garden at NY city « binscapes Pingback said:

    […] Resource: http://www.urbangardensweb.com/2011/02/01/gardens-on-top-of-city-busses/ Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Comments RSS feed […]

    — March 4, 2012 @ 03:24

  20. Gardens Flourish on Top of City Busses | Rhea Harmsen Pingback said:

    […] Gardens Flourish on Top of City Busses. […]

    — April 3, 2012 @ 12:05

  21. 25 Photos of Urban Green Spaces | EcoSalon | Conscious Culture and Fashion Pingback said:

    […] Bus Roots by Marco Antonio Castro Cosio, New York, New York […]

    — April 8, 2012 @ 07:18

  22. Brian said:

    What happens when there’s a wreck and plants/rocks/debris goes flying into others who would have otherwise been uninvolved?

    — April 11, 2012 @ 18:47

  23. Todd said:

    So – it’s a great idea – but – what about the extra energy the bus needs now to carry all that extra weight? Dirt isn’t light!!

    — April 11, 2012 @ 19:10

  24. Ben L said:

    Stupid idea! Local politicos are praising themselves for agreeing to it.

    — April 11, 2012 @ 21:16

  25. Jamie L said:

    how heavy they are? how much extra gas it will burnt?

    — April 11, 2012 @ 21:59

  26. Richard J. said:

    Did you hear the J. Peterman Catalog is coming out with an urban garden hat !!!

    — April 12, 2012 @ 10:10

  27. Erica said:

    So I’m curious as to whether any of the plants used were native to the area? You could still receive many of the same stormwater management benefits, but also create wildlife habitat in the process.

    We have a few garden trucks with native and edible gardens in their beds in my neck of the woods.

    Nice idea!

    — April 12, 2012 @ 17:53

  28. Dan said:

    Most of the claimed benefits can be refuted:
    â?¢ Aesthetic Value â?? I’m not sure I’ve ever taken seen the top of a bus. I mostly see the sides of them. Installing an extensive roof â?? generally meaning small plants â?? would not be seen by as many people as greening a space on the ground.

    â?¢ Mitigation of Urban Heat Island Effect â?? I may be wrong, but I feel that glossy white bus roofs have higher albedos than greenery.

    â?¢ Acoustical and Thermal Insulation â?? Buildings may benefit from improved acoustics, but do buses? I agree that thermal insulation would be a benefit.

    â?¢ Storm Water Reduction and Management â??

    â?¢ CO2 absorbtion â?? As others have pointed out, the additional weight of soil and water may reduce the mileage of the buses and thereby increase their emissions.

    â?¢ Public Education and Recreation â?? Recreation obviously can’t be taken seriously here â?? try to imagine a class of schoolchildren playing tag atop a bus â?? better yet a moving one. Nevertheless, using this as a mobile educational tool â?? like Truck Farm â?? could be fantastic.

    â?¢ Reclaiming Forgotten Real Estate â?? When in history did people capitalize on the real estate of bus roofs? This can’t be forgotten real estate if it was never used. Also, this isn’t real estate. The buses will only be improving real estate when they’re parked in bus depots. Why not actually reclaim forgotten real estate and convert parking lots and spaces into greenspaces?

    â?¢ Habitat Restoration â?? ……see above comment.

    The main benefit from this is simpler than the above: it shows people just how easy it can be to grow plants if they want to. If a designer can do it atop a bus for no good reason, you can too â?? hopefully with a better one.

    — April 14, 2012 @ 21:31

  29. Paris Green Roofed Public Shelter Offers WiFi and Electronic City Guides | Urban Gardens Pingback said:

    […] outdoor advertising, collaborated with designer Mathieu Lehanneur to create Escale Numérique, a green roofed wifi connected corner of respite on the busy Rond Point des Champs-Elysées. Lehanneur is no […]

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  30. Pop-Up Mobile Urban Forest Sows Seeds of Change | Urban Gardens | Unlimited Thinking For Limited Spaces | Urban Gardens Pingback said:

    […] gardens, including mobile gardens, are really a kind of pop-up with a message. For the town of Bristol’s Big Green Week, local […]

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  31. Mercedes said:

    If I were starving and living in a mobile home, maybe I would start planting food on my roof. But I hope somebody would smack me upside the head and help me use my time and brain cells more effectively. Not to mention what it might do to my mobile home.

    what?!?

    — July 26, 2012 @ 17:44

  32. Public Gardens Design said:

    This is a great idea to have the garden on the city bus i never seen such before but truly great idea and looks amazing on bus.

    — December 5, 2012 @ 07:30

  33. Modular Compact Green Roof System | Urban Gardens | Unlimited Thinking For Limited Spaces | Urban Gardens Pingback said:

    […] ‘roll out’ green roof systems are not feasible for certain roof conditions. Some systems are bulky, built like […]

    — January 22, 2013 @ 18:11

  34. Bus Roots | foodurbanism.org Pingback said:

    […] SOURCE: http://www.urbangardensweb.com/2011/02/01/gardens-on-top-of-city-busses/ […]

    — February 1, 2013 @ 04:04

  35. Kevin Rutan said:

    My question is fuel economy. Does it use more fuel with the added weight of the soil and the plants. Does it then put out more CFCs than the plants make up for?

    — April 11, 2013 @ 20:26

  36. urbangardens said:

    Kevin, this was a purely conceptual project. I am about to write about one that has been carefully researched. Stay tuned!

    — April 11, 2013 @ 20:57

  37. Secular Antitheist Liberal said:

    Given the city smog don’t eat plants that grow beside highways or on top of city buses. 🙂

    — May 1, 2013 @ 19:55

  38. Phyto Kinetic: Green Roofs for City Buses and Improved Urban Ecosystem | Urban Gardens Pingback said:

    […] water use? What will happen to the plants if the bus is in an accident? A similar project, Bus Roots, developed by NYU graduate student Marco Antonio Castro Cosio which we covered two years ago, […]

    — July 24, 2013 @ 19:28

  39. Telhados verdes para ônibus • Jardim de Calatéia Pingback said:

    […] iniciativa do designer Marco Antonio Castro Cosio, o Bus Roots nasceu como trabalho final do curso de graduação em design do nova-iorquino. Como tal, é um […]

    — August 1, 2013 @ 17:08

  40. Project puts gardens on bus roofs to purify city air | UltraTrends.com Pingback said:

    […] direction (NYU student Marco Antonio Castro Cosio mounted a similar project in New York called Bus Roots). Granen is currently in discussions with an auto company to mass produce the concept throughout […]

    — September 6, 2013 @ 16:59

  41. Project puts gardens on bus roofs to purify city air | Alternative News Alert! Pingback said:

    […] direction (NYU student Marco Antonio Castro Cosio mounted a similar project in New York called Bus Roots). Granen is currently in discussions with an auto company to mass produce the concept throughout […]

    — September 6, 2013 @ 17:11

  42. Project puts gardens on bus roofs to purify city air | ???? Pingback said:

    […] direction (NYU student Marco Antonio Castro Cosio mounted a similar project in New York called Bus Roots). Granen is currently in discussions with an auto company to mass produce the concept throughout […]

    — September 6, 2013 @ 17:33

  43. Project puts gardens on bus roofs to purify city air - bubonka.com Pingback said:

    […] direction (NYU student Marco Antonio Castro Cosio mounted a similar project in New York called Bus Roots). Granen is currently in discussions with an auto company to mass produce the concept throughout […]

    — September 6, 2013 @ 18:25

  44. Project puts gardens on bus roofs to purify city air | VantageWire Pingback said:

    […] direction (NYU student Marco Antonio Castro Cosio mounted a similar project in New York called Bus Roots). Granen is currently in discussions with an auto company to mass produce the concept throughout […]

    — September 6, 2013 @ 18:52

  45. Ripley's Blog | Ripple's Web » Project puts gardens on bus roofs to purify city air Pingback said:

    […] direction (NYU student Marco Antonio Castro Cosio mounted a similar project in New York called Bus Roots). Granen is currently in discussions with an auto company to mass produce the concept throughout […]

    — September 7, 2013 @ 08:22

  46. This and that | Ripple's Web » Project puts gardens on bus roofs to purify city air Pingback said:

    […] direction (NYU student Marco Antonio Castro Cosio mounted a similar project in New York called Bus Roots). Granen is currently in discussions with an auto company to mass produce the concept throughout […]

    — September 7, 2013 @ 08:23

  47. Project puts gardens on bus roofs to purify city air | Vintayge Latest Hosting News, Guides & Updates Pingback said:

    […] direction (NYU student Marco Antonio Castro Cosio mounted a similar project in New York called Bus Roots). Granen is currently in discussions with an auto company to mass produce the concept throughout […]

    — September 7, 2013 @ 13:31

  48. Gardens On Buses Purify City Air -- Phyto Kinetic Project | PlanetSave Pingback said:

    […] time we have seen this “exercise in ‘nomadic urban agriculture’” as described by Marco Antonio Castro Cosio’s graduate thesis at New York University. Cosio considers it a reclaiming of forgotten and lost […]

    — September 26, 2013 @ 09:08

  49. Grønne planer » emma slebsager Pingback said:

    […] kan jeg anbefale den her artikel. Og så synes jeg lige, at I også skal tjekke projeket Bus Roots ud. Det er New York-busser, som har fået blomster på taget! Hvor fint ville det ikke være, hvis […]

    — October 7, 2013 @ 02:53

  50. Foragings:: The latest news, resources, designs and more - The Metropolitan Field Guide Pingback said:

    […] Gardens Flourish on Top of City Buses:: From the Urban Gardens blog, a post about a prototype green roof planted on top of a New York City bus. […]

    — January 9, 2014 @ 20:17

  51. Urban Gardens: New Ways of Thinking | Savetherainforest Pingback said:

    […] last example I’d like to present is taking the idea of an urban garden and making it mobile. Bus Roots is a project developing all of over the United States that travels from state to state with a […]

    — April 29, 2014 @ 15:17

  52. 10 Mobile Gardens to Grow On the Go Pingback said:

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