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Los Angeles freeways go green with bamboo billboards

Posting in Cities

Drivers in Los Angeles may soon be able to break up their smog-filled commutes with a little greenery on the highway.

With a new sustainability project called Urban Air, L.A.-based artist Stephen Glassman is gearing up to replace many of the billboards that line the city's busiest roads with tiny gardens of bamboo. The hope is that the hanging gardens will both purify the surrounding air and give morning commuters a much-needed break from the usual barrage of advertisements they see daily.

Glassman has been making bamboo art for decades, but it wasn’t until last year that the artist gained considerable attention for one of his mini billboard-bamboo setups. The project caught the eye and gained the support of L.A. billboard company Summit Media, who agreed to donate billboards for the project's prototype.

The project works by removing the billboard’s ad-enabling exterior and refitting it with a metal husk that contains planters, bamboo and a watering system, Popular Science reports. The new gardens will also contain environmental sensors and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Glassman now has a Kickstarter page to raise funds for the first official billboard as well as for money to hire all the engineers needed to build it. The team hopes to eventually develop a bamboo-billboard “kit” that would allow the installations to be installed anywhere, in any city.


Image: Stephen Glassman, Video: Urban Air

— By on November 7, 2012, 4:15 AM PST

Sarah Korones

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Sarah Korones is a freelance writer based in New York. She has written for Psychology Today and Boston's Weekly Dig. She holds a degree from Tufts University. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure