Prompted by a lack of tree-shaded spots to sit under in his adopted city of Milan, product designer Matteo Cibic wondered, "If you can pay to park your car in front of your house or office, why can’t you also pay to have a tree right there?"
It's an appealing question that led to Cibic's design of this mobile "tree trolley" where conceptually, a "tree is parked like a car" for the enjoyment of everyone, with the ultimate goal of quickly greening cities one parking spot at a time, rather than going down the route of expensive and time-intensive urban projects.
But in today's hyper-connected age, a mere tree by itself might not pass muster, so the trolley also acts as a communal wi-fi hotspot that could replace the "electro smog" of many private ones. Cibic says that he sees the rentable trolley as a providing a host of community-oriented services:
It would make the neighbourhood safer thanks to a help button and a light to light up dark streets. Also it should have a USB charger for people who’d like to work open air. I see this social and design concept as a great way to make my hometown Milan a better and more liveable place. This way we could create new green areas right in the heart of the city and everyone could live right next to a tree once in a while.
Of course, the idea might really take off if neighbours get together to "invest" in whole blocks of trolleys to really green their street, notes FastCo.Design, or if companies who want to add some green credibility use them for advertising.
Similar to the international PARK(ing) Day event, where people convert metered parking spaces into meaningful community spaces, it's an interesting concept that Cibic also envisions as a bit of a social experiment: "Parking it would also reduce the free parking slots and thus the experiment would ultimately show if people are willing to sacrifice parking space for green space." With this design, citizens would be empowered to let their dollars do the talking. More over at Matteo Cibic Studio.