John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.
How to transform the Paris Metro into pastureland in a couple easy steps.
Subways are alive with fauna with their scampering rats, flapping pigeons, and train-riding feral dogs. Why can't we get a little flora down there, too?
A mischievous artist called Farewell decided to help out in that department at one station in Paris. He began above ground, watering and trimming vines before "noticing" a grate above the train tracks. Cue an air-drop of dirt and seed and, soon after, Parisians had gained a verdant Metro experience that would make Hank Hill proud.
Farewell's latest stunt—executed in 2014 but released on video this week—is perhaps the gentlest of his often-infuriating interventions. This is a guy who has mobilized the police by floating a fake person down a river. He's also locked helpless commuters inside a train car decorated to look like a jail cell (though he's taken that video down). His Facebook fans, at least, seem to appreciate this recent turn toward the good, saying "It's very poetic!" and "How can we not fallen in love with your actions mister farewell?!!"