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In Detroit, Barbers And Landscapers Unite To Clean Up The City

Winner of the Knight Cities Challenge will pair local Detroit barbers with landscape contractors to transform overgrown vacant lots into unique public spaces.

Courtesy of the Knight Foundation

Detroit might be floundering, but it’s not down for the count. Last week the winners of the Knight Cities Challenge, an annual city planning competition, were announced, and the Motor City is uniquely poised to benefit. Out of over 7,000 applications, sent in by activists, artists, architects, city officials, nonprofits, entrepreneurs, and everything in between, 32 winners were chosen, and funds totaling over $5 million were supplied to individuals and organizations hoping to improve their communities. One of our favorite projects is The Buzz, which will pair local Detroit barbers with landscape contractors to transform overgrown vacant lots. The groups will then attend design workshops that’ll teach mowing and pattern-making techniques.

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Plant-In City: The Twenty First Century Terrarium

A smartphone monitored ecosystem that can green the thumb of even the most unreliable gardener.



Inspired by the total lack of vegetation in the South Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn where designers Huy Bui and Jon Schramm of HB Collaborative live and work, the two partnered with Carlos Gomez of media architecture firm med44 to take the natural world into their own hands. The result: Plant-in City, a nearly self-sufficient interactive plant environment that incorporates intelligent architecture, a stunning design and advanced computer technology.

Their first iteration—a system of some 12 modular “smart” terrariums—was unveiled as an art project earlier this summer. Now, after wrapping a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised over $26,000, their most ambitious plant city is underway. Their goal is to create an even more intuitive 50-piece arrangement by early fall, location to be determined.

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