Funded! This project was successfully funded on December 11, 2012.


Imagine floating, globally connected urban forests growing where billboards stand. Artist Stephen Glassman and his team are doing it.

WHAT IS URBAN AIR? - UrbanAir transforms existing urban billboards to living, suspended bamboo gardens. Embedded with intelligent technology, UrbanAir becomes a global node - an open space in the urban skyline… An artwork, symbol, and instrument for a green future.

Like us on Facebook:

Follow us on Twitter:

Urban Air has been designed, engineered, and has secured the billboard to carry the flagship project. With your help, Urban Air will be towering above the Los Angeles freeways in the new year.

The vision doesn’t stop there. Upon a successful launch, it’s our plan and intention to transform the steel and wood of outdoor advertising into the infrastructure of urban sustainability in cities around the globe – actively, publicly, and collectively generating a green global future.

This first one is the Kickstarter!

A taste of Nels in performance

What has been done so far
Urban Air was born as an artwork in the LA studio of artist Stephen Glassman. The image immediately sparked the interest of key vanguard professionals in related fields – engineering, technology, advertising, planning and business – and the Urban Air development team was born.

Urban Air garnered its first international recognition when it received the 2011 London International Creativity Award. Summit Media – a Los Angeles based billboard company - then volunteered to lend their support and donate prominent billboards along major LA thoroughfares to provide the launch pad for the first Urban Air prototype.

Since then we’ve been working intensely with structural and environmental engineers, planners, technologists, billboard fabricators, bamboo growers, plumbers and outdoor advertising specialists to design and produce a full scale working prototype that assures not only a successful single prototype, but also generates a system “kit” that enables any standard billboard to be easily transformed to a green, linked, urban forest.



Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Working creatively on a large scale in the public realm is always a challenge. Lead Artist Stephen Glassman has a long history and substantial portfolio creating and producing high concept, large scale, structural artworks in the public domain. He understands navigating this frontier.

Billboards are a unique territory. We are fortunate to have the support and partnership of Summit Media. Through Summit, we have been working closely with licensed billboard fabricators and engineers that are specifically equipped to engineer, permit, and install custom billboards. Their expertise will be augmented by structural engineer Bruce Danziger of Arup – a premier global engineering firm that has engineered break through architectural landmarks around the world – from the Beijing Olympic Stadium to Seattle's Public Library. Stephen has collaborated with Buce and Arup on a half dozen prior projects.

The environmental sensors and intelligent technology is also a cutting edge territory, and for this Arup’s participation is again invaluable. Russell Fortmeyer is Arup’s senior sustainability and technology consultant. The technology we will be incorporating is all existing – it is only the context that is unique. Russell and Arup have many colleagues in this field that are excited to contribute. UrbanAir producer Steve Reiss and advisor Deborah Marton have long histories in environmental charitable development, and have worked with several technology companies who are excited to participate.

Like any authentic and vital artwork, the greatest risk and challenge UrbanAir faces is to create something that has never before existed – to embrace the unknown and create something from nothing. The key to UrbanAir’s success is its remarkable team – years of experience and proven expertise in cutting edge, civic scale projects. They are vanguard professionals inspired by bold challenges, and committed to creating a better world.


  • *For those of you that may have questions about the cost, the biggest single expense is the structural retrofitting of the billboard to take the extra load of the plants. That process, coupled with the cost of installation, comes to nearly 50% of the total budget. Kickstarter and Amazon take a combined 8% for administrative costs and commissions; 20% goes to the production of the gift premiums, and 5% to the costs of the campaign. The remaining 15% is for the bamboo, misters, and technology.

    Last updated:
pledged of $100,000 goal
seconds to go
  • Pledge $5 or more
    You selected

    384 backers

    Thank you! Your name on our donor website and placed on our urban air mailing list

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $10 or more
    You selected

    352 backers

    Your message on a virtual leaf! Like the web, a bamboo forest is one interconnected rhizome network. $10 buys you a leaf in our virtual UrbanAir bamboo forest on the web. Click on the leaf of your choosing and it magnifies large enough to post your own message in the worldwide call for our global green future.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $30 or more
    You selected

    121 backers

    You get your very own UrbanAir commemorative bamboo flash drive

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $35 or more
    You selected

    140 backers

    For $5 more, you get the UrbanAir commemorative bamboo flash drive LOADED with Stephen’s UrbanAir digital imagery.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $50 or more
    You selected

    149 backers

    Your Choice: the UrbanAir Recycled billboard bag. Not only can you transform billboards to gardens, but you can save trees by replacing your paper grocery bags with our billboard bag – made from 100% recycled billboards. OR: our soft and comfy custom printed UrbanAir T-shirt. Stylin'! (int'l shipping extra)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships within the US only
  • Pledge $150 or more
    You selected

    40 backers

    All of the above, PLUS a 13" x 19" inch, signed, limited edition, museum quality, UrbanAir print. (international shipping not included)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships within the US only
  • Pledge $250 or more
    You selected

    27 backers

    UrbanAir Premier Performance Event and Party - A fabulous avante-garde evening of spectacle, music, performance, food and art. This special evening is co-produced by LA’s very own haute event creators Fire and Creme. Sip UrbanAir cocktails, munch Urban street food, and mingle with an ever growing list of Urban artists, performers, musicians, and filmmakers as they weave a mesmerizing evening of beauty, audacity, and mystery in Los Angeles.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $500 or more
    You selected

    7 backers

    All of the above plus a framed, signed drawing from the artists' sketchbook.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $1,250 or more
    You selected

    0 backers Limited (30 left of 30)

    A quiet and delicious celebration. Come enjoy an elegant and intimate dinner party, hosted by the artist and prepared by famed celebrity chef Andrew Kirschner on the back patio of “Tar and Roses” - his award winning Santa Monica restaurant (best new restaurant, L.A., 2012). Wood oven cooking, intimate fine dining, great conversation, quiet sea breezes under the stars ... plus a special gift bag. Bring your date -the dinner party premium covers the evening for two!

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $2,500 or more
    You selected

    2 backers Limited (10 left of 12)

    The Tar and Roses gourmet dinner evening PLUS a unique limited edition Urban Air commemorative sculpture plus all of the above, and credited as a patron on our website.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $5,000 or more
    You selected

    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    A visit to the artist’s studio and your choice of select full scale original studio artwork plus all of the above, and membership in the producer circle on our website & and credited in all future publications.

    Estimated delivery:
Funding period

- (49 days)