Commonstudio's Global Urbarium is an evolving, multi-city celebration of spontaneous urban vegetation. Bringing the tranditional practice of herbarium specimen collection into the 21st century, the project attempts to to reframe the conversation (and challenge negative stereotypes) surrounding "weeds" in cities. Inspired by Emerson's assertion that "A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered", we believe that touching, identifying and celebrating the latent beauty of these urban ecologies may be a first step toward discovering those virtues. 

For an expanded exploration on the context and framing of the research, please click the following:

Phillips, D. “Ecologies of Elsewhere: Giving Urban Weeds a Third Glance.” The Nature of Cities (online). 2017


In addition to digitally preserved specimens (available in full via Instagram), there are several concurrent projects underway, powered in part by the citizen science platform iNaturalist. A recent grant from the Graham Sustainability Institute has enabled us to expand the Rustbelt Urbarium into a larger research project within southeast Michigan.

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