“Forest cities”: the radical plan to save China from air pollution
Stefano Boeri, the architect well-known for his plant-covered skyscrapers, has designs to make entire new inexperienced settlements in a country plagued by dusty air
When Stefano Boeri imagines the continuing future of metropolitan China he considers green, and a lot of it. Office blocks, homes and hotels decked from top to bottom in a verdant blaze of shrubbery and vegetation; a breath of oxygen for metropolises that are choking over a toxic diet of fumes and dust
The other day last week, the Italian architect, famed for his tree-clad Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest) skyscraper organic in Milan, presented plans for an identical task in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing.
The Chinese similar – Boeri’s first in Asia – will be made up of two neighboring towers covered with 23 varieties of tree and even more than 2,500 cascading shrubs. The set ups will reportedly house office buildings apparently, a 247-room luxury hotel, a museum, and a good renewable structures green school, and are under the structure, set for the conclusion next year.
But Boeri now has even bolder ideas for China: to generate entire “forest cities” in a country that has been associated with environmental degradation and smog.
“We have been asked to design an entire city where you don’t only have one tall building but you have 100 or 200 buildings of different sizes, all with trees and plants on the facades,” Boeri told the Guardian. “We are working very seriously on designing all the different buildings. I think they will start to build at the end of this year. By 2020 we could imagine having the first forest city in China.”
Boeri explained his “vertical forest” notion as the architectural exact carbon copy of a skin area graft, a targeted treatment made to bring new lease of life to a tiny area of China’s polluted metropolitan sprawl. His Milan-based practice said the complexes would suck 25 tons of carbon dioxide from Nanjing’s air every year and produce about 60 kg of air every day.
“It is positive because the presence of such a large number of plants, trees and shrubs is contributing to the cleaning of the air, contributing to absorbing CO2 and producing oxygen,’ the architect said. “And what is so important is that this large presence of plants is an amazing contribution in terms of absorbing the dust produced by urban traffic.”
Boeri said, though, that it would take more than a pair of tree-covered skyscrapers to solve China’s notorious pollution crisis.
When the Nanjing task is a skin area graft, Boeri’s plans for “forest cities” are similar to a body organ transplant. The Milan-born architect said his idea was to make a series of ecological mini-cities that can provide a renewable green roadmap for future years of metropolitan China.
The first such settlement shall be positioned in Liuzhou, a mid-sized Chinese city around 1.5 million residents in the mountainous southern province of Guangxi. More improbably, another project has been conceived around Shijiazhuang, a professional hub in north China that is constantly one of the country’s 10 most polluted locations.