Stigmatized as undesirable, unwieldy and unkempt, Spontaneous Urban Plants (SUP) – better known as “weeds” - have a diminished status in our collective cultural perception. Often found in derelict urban landscapes, overlooked and unwanted, SUP thrive in places most plants cannot grow, sprouting up from cracks in the side walk, and propagating the seams along chain link fences. They provide substantive ecological benefits that are often overlooked – creating wildlife habitat, mitigating stormwater, or phytoremediating disturbed soils. Launched in summer 2014 by Future Green Studio, www.spontaneousurbanplants.org is a user-generated database of weeds in the urban environment that maps images from the photography application Instagram tagged with #spontaneousurbanplants, and filters them based on species, ecological benefits and disservices to the environment. Leveraging principles of urban ecology and environmental aesthetics, the intent is to stimulate discourse between ecologists, designers, artists and the general public that explores societal perceptions of weeds and questions the stigmas that surround them.
How to participate? We invite anyone with a smartphone to participate in creating a user generated database of spontaneous urban plants, instantly accessible to everyone. Ensure your location data is turned on, and hash tag the photo with #spontaneousurbanplants to join in the fun.