Transforming a dense concrete jungle like Milan into a haven of vegetation is no easy task, but artist Matteo Cibic has come up with a clever way to reintroduce plant life into the barren metropolis with his inventive tree trolley. The tree trolley is a mobile bench and garden that allows citizens to decide where they want green areas — all while reclaiming public space that has been usurped by carbon-spewing cars. Cibic’s design is a response to a question that Inhabitat’s editor Jill Fehrenbacher posed on smart urban stage – a collaborative online project dealing with the future of the city. Jill’s question was:
Jill was expecting a more general response to her question and was pleasantly surprised and impressed by the creative specificity of the proposal Matteo Cibic submitted to smart urban stage with his awesome tree trolley wifi bench design!
Cibic, who has lived in Milan for over a decade, has never once sat on a bench underneath a tree within the city. Upon realizing the scarcity of green spaces, he decided to take advantage of one of the city’s plentiful resources: parking. The notion behind his idea is quite simple: “If you can pay to park your car in front of your house or office, why can’t you also pay to have a tree right there?”
The tree trolley consists of a tree and a bench set on wheels, and it can be parked around the city just like a car. Citizens can decide to finance the stay of the trolley (by paying the parking fee) in their locale, or have it moved elsewhere. Cibic adds to that point, “Parking it would also reduce the free parking slots, and thus the experiment would ultimately show if people are willing to sacrifice parking space for green space.”
The tree trolley also has plenty of other practical additions, including WiFi, street lighting at night, and USB chargers for people who like to work al fresco.
“I see this social and design concept as a great way to make my hometown of Milan a better and more liveable place,” the artist remarks. “This way we could create new green areas right in the heart of the city, and everyone could live right next to a tree once in a while.”