Rebekka Keuss - Pop-Up Cities

Environmental awareness has risen exponentially in recent years and many people have grown a strong urge to surround themselves with anything green amidst vast concrete jungles. Vertical gardens, urban farming, and guerrilla gardening are a few phenomena that have only recently entered our daily lives.

It is surprising that no one thought of it much earlier. Luckily, greening the city has gained a huge fan community. Landscape artist Marc Grañén, in collaboration with Grupo IRACO, takes it to the next level by using vehicle roofs as flower beds, turning unused space into little oases.


In order to make rooftop gardens on vehicles possible Marc Grañén uses IRACO’s Aquapro SkyGardens which are phytokinetic gardens made of aquaponic foam embedded in a steel grid. The flower bed is kept moist by a sedum carpet of small succulents that are planted in addition to small shrubs and ferns. The whole area is then covered with a protective mesh. Interestingly, the plants on the vehicle’s rooftop are watered with the waste from its air conditioning unit and, in addition, buses can be cooled down by 38.5° F through rooftop gardens and, thus, save on air conditioning as a whole.

The aim of the whole project is to increase the number of green areas that, subsequently, help reduce carbon dioxide emission and increase overall vegetation and biodiversity in traffic-congested cities. In Barcelona, for instance, over 1,000 buses run through the city every day. With a rooftop capacity of about 323 square feet per bus this would add up to an additional green space of 323,000 square feet.


The Spanish artist has great ambitions to invade all types of vehicles with moving gardens. He has implemented a prototype on a bus going 40mph and a van going 60mph on the highway and, at the moment, the bus runs on the streets of L’Estartit near Girona, Spain. Grañen is further negotiating with several caravan builders to also implement rooftop gardens on their vehicles. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could bring your plants along on vacation and not let them dry up at home. Your beloved plants would always be by your side, or rather, above your head.


Pop-Up Cities Is a blog about design and urbanism, where this post originally appeared. It was republished with permission.


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