Stopping and smelling the roses is now a matter of simply waiting at a bus stop, thanks to an idea which sees gardens planted on top of public transport vehicles.
A prototype range of the adapted buses are aiming to purify air in cities that have a lack of urban green areas.
Landscape artist Marc Granen’s system, dubbed PhytoKinetic, uses condensation from the vehicle’s air conditioning system to water the roof. The garden can also be manually watered.
His first bus is currently being used to transport tourists to and from a nature and camping facility in Girona, Spain.
Last week he completed the first van in the world with a PhytoKinetic roof.
Mr Granen said: ‘Urban green areas are crucial for photosynthesis, a process in which plants absorb CO2 and release O2 – vital for purifying the air we breathe.
‘The lungs of a city must grow at the same rate as its population, but much-needed green areas are not always available.
‘Phytokinetic has grown out of this supposition, with the goal of delivering a practical and tangible solution.
‘If finding new urban spaces for gardens is problematic, we can use spaces that already exist, such as the roofs of city public transport.
‘Our mission is to expand the garden area in urban areas, increase the absorption of CO2 and give public transport a new ecological and tourist attraction.’
The system uses lightweight 7cm-thick hydroponic foam, which retains humidity but not water, and helps to reduce the weight in periods of continuous rain.
Small shrubs can then planted to suit the climate of the host city or to match a particular bus lines own identifying garden.
To water the roof, it is only necessary to make use of the condensation of the air-conditioning units installed on the roof of the vehicle.
The hotter it gets, and the more water the plants need, the more they are watered, by the simple act of using the air-conditioning.
The bus’s innovator added: ‘It really started last summer, when I made the first prototype on a bus in a small town near Barcelona.
‘It stills working now and, thanks to its PhytoKinetic vegetable roof, temperature inside have decreased 3.5C.
‘Since then, I’ve spent several months working in introducing improvements, and making it legal.
‘Now, I am so proud this is a reality and has passed all technical and security controls.’
Mr Granan is now in discussion with an auto company interested in sponsoring a fleet in Barcelona.
His garden van will be one of the main attractions in Nantes at the Green International Congress in September.