Any of us who live in NYC know its not always the ‘greenest’ place – at least when it comes to flora and fauna and botanical spaces. Thats why we are enamored with TODO Design and DAS Studio‘s urban design proposal to take over New York City billboards and greenify them with living air gardens. These forward-thinking designers were recently awarded first place in the iDA Land & Sea Competition for their brilliant Garden Spots – an idea to green our gritty urban landscape by seeding gardens on the flip sides of commercial billboards.
Unlike the inhabitable buildings which comprise the New York City skyline, the structural silhouettes of commercial billboards populate the city’s horizon, indifferent to any use other than transmitting paid advertisements. The creative teams at TODO and Das proposed to make use of these otherwise barren structural resources by seeding them with oxygen-producing, solar-powered, local flora and fauna — making the local landscape a bit friendlier and greener for us all.
Billboards are designed as monological messages aimed at a target audience zipping past in cars in a defined direction, such as a one way street. As the flip sides of the billboards are not designed to market to a pedestrian or community scaled audience, often appearing as blight on the landscape. Garden Spots proposes to exploit them to provide gardens in the sky, a place for nature to take root and to provide relief to the community.
Their proposal encourages dialogue with local residents without interfering with the target, drive-by audience, at the same time that it greens the city. These gardens will work to offset the carbon footprint of the passing vehicles. The design team considers the proposal akin to planting an urban tree, except that these gardens will allow for a diversity of planting that can be tailored to local fauna and climate.
Designed around self-sustaining technologies with photovoltaic panels powering the automated drip irrigation system fed from the base of the billboard towers, the gardens will require limited management once established and can be monitored in clusters from a centralized location via wireless technology.