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Materials for the arts


Bus Roots is a bus with a garden on its roof. It reconnects urban communities with nature, using plants in a practical and playful way.

Bus Roots Visualization: Marco Castro Photo: Shane Ramkinssoon / 2009

The purpose of Bus Roots is to reclaim unused space, increase both the quality of life and the amount of green spaces in the city and generate a new travelling botanical history.

Aesthetic Value
Public education and Recreation

Storm Water Management
Mitigation of Urban Heat Island Effect

Reclamation of Forgotten Real Estate
Acoustic and Thermal Insulation

Pollution Mitigation

Habitat Restoration

Food Production

+ Storm water management - 60% to 100% runoff reduction, 95 minutes to 4 hours runoff delay. + Roof Conservation - 3 times life extension of roof membrane. + Mitigation of air pollution -37% and 21% reduction of sulfur dioxide and nitrous acid. 37.5 grams per ft2 5% decrease in temperature may reduce up to 8% electricity for A/C.

+ Mitigation of urban heat island effect - 3% indoor temperature. Every . + Acoustic and thermal insulation- up to 40 dB noise reducton + Habitat restoration + Public education and recreation + Reclamation of forgotten real estate + Food production + Aesthetic value

Nomadic agriculture can be a solution for nutrient depleted soils, and it can provide plants and food precisely where they might be needed. It can provide ideas and help to continue the conversation around the following issues:

+ Nomadic and urban plant life + Mobile agriculture + Eating design + Environmental remediation + New models of life and education + Living systems + Transportation + Food deserts in cities + Natural pollution sensors + Obesity + Nutrient depleted and toxic soils + Polluted water supply

MATERIALS FOR THE ARTS/ Artist in Residence
As an Artist in Residence for Materials for the Arts, Marco Antonio Castro Cosio proposes to install a lightweight garden on the roof of one of MFTA’s box trucks. This will be a 8-month pilot project in which the artist will take care of the garden and will use it as an experimental garden to study the difference between a “green roofed” truck and non “green roofed” one. Some of the important metrics to study are temperature, rain capture, growth of the plants, and change in fuel usage. A time lapse camera will document the plants in motion as they grow and will also capture the reactions of people as they see the garden. It will also allow to study how the movement and wind affects the plants on the truck. The results and video could be shown at MFTA’s warehouse or made available online.

With the support of MFTA, the project could also be open to receive support from other organizations in the city either in financial or materials support. IOBY or Kickstarter could help with the financial support, while organizations and companies could help by donating materials. Research Organizations Universities Parks Department Build it Green Kawasaki Greenhouses (Coco Coir distributor) Dupont (Tyvek manufcturer) Roof rack vendors

A public transit bus has a roof surface of 340 ft2. The MTA fleet has around 4,500 buses. If Bus Roots were to be grown on the roof of every one of the 4,500 buses in the MTA bus fleet, we would have 35 acres of nomadic green space in the city. This would be the equivalent of 4 Bryant Parks in New York City.

The method used for the green roof is a custom made system which combines elements from: Extensive green roofs green cloaks hydroponics Sub-Irrigated Planters.

This combination allows for: faster installation lower maintenance lighter weight
Lulu’s Food Truck

The roof of a box truck measures approximately 16ft by 9ft (144sq. ft) The proposed installation would have an approximate weight of .73lbs to 6lbs when wet. The total weight will be 753 lbs


The design of the installation is meant for water to be used quickly by the plants and let the rest flow or evaporate. The whole installaton is suspended above the roof to avoid blocking the original flow of water By allowing air to flow between the roof and the plants, any risk of rust is also prevented.

The garden is suspended on an off the shelf lightweight aluminum structure.

The roof rack, as shown, can hold up to 800 lbs. If it gets reinforced it can support up to 1200 lbs.
Info from the manufacturers:

The selection of plants is made with low maintenance in mind. Herbs Native Plants Vines and Climbing Plants Some fruits and vegetables Lavender Strawberry Seasie Goldenrod

Boston Ivy

Trumpe Vine


The gardens appreciate as much care and maintenance as possible, however they are designed to survive and thrive with very little of it. Below is a picture of the BioBus with native plants with little to no maintenance.

This is the latest prototype shown at the Ideas City Festival, organized at the New Museum in 2013.

Lulu’s Food Truck

This prototype on a park meter truck for the University of Maryland has been rolling for a year.

Lulu’s Food Truck

Lulu’s Food truck is a local, sustainable and healthy food truck who is now growing food on their roof top. They have had the garden for a year now.

Lulu’s Food Truck


Lulu’s Food Truck

The first succesful Bus Roots prototype was installed on the roof of the BioBus. It is the first bus with an extensive green roof system. It has been growing for 36 months travelling around New York City and across the US.

Permission and Paperwork Revised Design Grow plants in wooden trayrs


TEDx Cape May Fertilizer


Launch Fundraiser and social media campaign Set up Time Lapse Camera Install roofrack Install baskets Relocate plants


winterize equipment

DecemberMarch March April- July


Spring Season Gather Data and present results


Set up Experiments Show at Mexican Consulate Event Maker Faire

Partners Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum The New New York Tactical Urbanism Maker Faire Jardins Jardin Aux Tuleries nysci Architecture for Humanity NY

Web PSFK Inhabitat Treehugger World Science Festival Ars Electronica Scienceline Steering News Huffington Post Print National Geographic World - Germany Süddeutsche Zeitung - Germany Trendy Magazine - Japan Tv & Video ZDF Germany- Austria, Switzerland Nippon Television Network Corporation Japan

Marco Antonio Castro Cosio 2010

For further Information: Tel. 347 346 2810 email: