Hanging from a chain-link fence near abandoned, rundown industrial buildings in Kingston, New York, dozens of tiny planters are now filled with ivy and succulents. The planters, made from recycled plastic, are prototypes of a new product called the Sead Pod, designed to quickly create green urban spaces from industrial sites.
Designer Bryan Meador started thinking about the problem on walks from his house in Kingston to the nearby Hudson River. “In order to make it to the river, you have to pass through this industrial area that’s just covered in chain-link fences and littered with plastic bottles,” he says. “Eventually I make it to the major part of the walk, and it’s gorgeous and I find myself feeling calmer and more peaceful. And on my way back, I’m thinking, how can you extend that feeling of solitude and tranquility into this industrial space?”
The simple planter is designed to hang from a fence without any additional support. When a planter at the top is watered, any extra water drips down to the planters below. “It’s a really efficient way to use water,” Meador says. The recycled plastic—HDPE, the kind of plastic commonly used to make milk jugs or shampoo bottles—is designed to be durable enough to last for years outside, and then can be recycled again. The name, “Sead” Pod, stands for “Sustainable Ecology, Adaptive Design.”
After prototyping the design with 3D printers, Meador is now ready to begin manufacturing the product at a larger scale and is running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to move forward with a manufacturer. A single planter costs $1 through the campaign. Meador’s hope is that people will use them in neglected spaces, both to beautify neighborhoods and to help clean the air and sequester carbon dioxide. “My ultimate goal for this would be to empower people to appropriate forgotten spaces that maybe they frequent often, but the owner maybe only comes by once a year,” he says. “You’re bringing green and growing plants into this otherwise desolate space.”