The Common Roots project is a communal plant watering system that uses technology to help residents care for each others plants via the internet.

The first version of the project took place in September 2017 between a communal garden and private homes. Potted plants were paired between the two spaces via Wi-Fi, and as someone waters a plant in the communal area a plant will be automatically watered in a private home, and vice versa.

A second version, installed August 2018, was networked between private homes only.  When someone pressed the button to water a plant in their home it triggered the watering of a plant, selected randomly, in someone else’s home.  A display showed who was watering whose plant live.  The new system had the addition of an option to invite each other to meet in a communal garden over a cup of tea.

I am now preparing for the third version that has been redesigned based on the feedback and outcomes of the previous versions, which is to be installed in homes throughout a local neighbourhood.

Please check out the project page to find out more!

The project is part of a PhD research project by Sophie McDonald at Queen Mary University of London. It was first devised by a team of students from Queen Mary University at the Plant Hack Symposium and Hackathon in Social Media and Interaction. More detailed information will be added here once the study is complete.