Bus Roots is a living garden planted on the roofs of city buses, an effort that rose out of New York City designer Marco Antonio Castro Cosio’s graduate thesis at NYU. The project aims to reclaim the forgotten space on the top of city buses. 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.
Each public transit bus has a surface of 340 ft2, and The Metropolitan Transit Authority has a fleet of around 4,500 buses. “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 green space in the city.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Although this installation does not produce food at the moment, it has some potential, albeit limited, to be utilized for urban agriculture. The project can be criticized for the potential extra fuel usage caused by the additional weight of the rooftop garden and the basic difficulties that the constant wind conditions might pose to the plants. It has been suggested that a more sustainable option would be to use the space for solar panels instead. Additional considerations in regards to the effects of pollutants on the plants need to be taken into account before an edible bus to be securely deployed in a city such as effects on pollutants. The project strongest quality appears to be its aesthetic appeal and sheer novelty.