Eileen Mandir

Green Skin — Cars as rolling greenspace and the impact on urban climate and landscape

Pilot car green smart fortwo
Pilot car: green smart fortwo

How might cars exist in a desirable cityscape? How might cars contribute to a better urban climate? What if cars were rolling greenspaces?

The number of registered cars in Baden-Württemberg is about 7,000,000 (as of 2021). If we assume that a car has an area of about 5 square meters, then there are about 35 square kilometers of sheet metal driving around in Baden-Württemberg alone. That’s enough to cover the entire city center of Stuttgart or 3,500 soccer fields. A major problem for the urban climate and cityscape. But what if this surface were a gigantic rolling green space instead of sheet metal?

»Green Skin« takes up the worldwide trend of facade greening and adapts this technology for the greening of a commercial passenger car. The roof, front, rear, and side elements of a smart fortwo were greened with succulents. The project is testing potential areas of impact of vehicle greening such as binding particulate matter, improving air quality, mitigating the ‘urban heat island effect’, and increasing biodiversity in cities. The pilot vehicle received road approval and was on the streets of Stuttgart for several weeks to test the succulent design in everyday life regarding durability and maintenance.

Daily maintainance of succulents on pilot vehilce

In addition to the technical aspects, Green Skin is also a discursive artifact that raises questions about urban climate and cityscape and stimulates a discourse about the role of cars in cities. The twist of seeing cars as part of the solution to the problem they cause opens the space for new thinking in an entrenched conflict of interests between the car-free city on the one hand and the car-friendly city on the other. In this respect, Green Skin is a good example of how an artifact can be used to moderate dialogue and find a compromise.

Pilot car provokes discourse among citizen

Making of

Sewing togehter the parts that hold the succulents
All green parts for roof, front, rear and sides
Applying glue to the back of the parts
Smart fortwo is mounted with succulents
Project host:
moovel lab
People involved @ moovel lab:
Tilman Häuser, Raphael Reimann, Bjørn Karmann, Eileen Mandir
Andreas Ruff
Mathias Beeh

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