While it’s currently famous for images of smog laden city-scapes, China is determined to re-brand itself as the greenest nation on Earth. To complement its staunch support of the Paris climate accord and construction of the world’s largest floating solar array, China is also making itself home to a vertical forest city, with construction due to be completed by 2020.
The Liuzhou Forest City has been commissioned from Italian architectural company, Stefano Boeri Architetti. And this is not their first urban jungle.
The short history of jungle cities
In 2014, Stefano Boeri completed construction of a set of vertical forest towers in Milan. The multi-award winning buildings are endowed with around 700 trees and more than 20,000 plants. Boeri is leading the way in this new form of green construction and each project draws new interest and new work requests from around the world. The Milan project led to a development in of a 117 meter residential tower in Switzerland, construction of which is currently underway.
The China project
The Italian company’s newest city is planned for the mountainous Guangxi region of southern China. The area is nestled in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei locale which is known for being one of the most polluted places on Earth.
Rebelling against this status-quo, the new forest city is planned to have 30,000 human inhabitants, balanced by the presence of 40,000 trees and 1 millions plants. This is a drastic shift in the human:plant ratio of most urban environments.
Projections are this massive ratio shift will decrease create sound barriers to cut down on noise pollution whilst simultaneously lowering the air temperature, promoting biodiversity and providing habitats for insects, birds, and other animals. Allowing nature to flourish so strongly means the city can justify having all the latest tech advancements, especially since it will be powered by geothermal energy and a plethora of solar arrays.
Why so many plants?
Trees and humans are the perfect companions. What we breathe out, they breathe in. If we exist together in the right ratio, it is the epitome of symbiotic relationships. Based on the projected numbers of trees and shrubbery, around about 10,000 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide, and 57 tonnes of other pollutants, will be absorbed by the city’s forest towers each year. In exchange for this bounteous feast, the trees will exude somewhere in the region of 900 tonnes of oxygen (you know, that stuff we breathe?).
If you’ve done the math there are reckon 900 tonnes in exchange for 10,000 tonnes isn’t really a fair deal, slow your roll for a minute. Our leafy brethren have a lot more on offer than just oxygen. Something about proximity to abundant plant life does wondrous things to humans. A recent report from the Institute for European
Environmental Policy (IEEP) found the more trees and greenery you live around, the less likely you are to be inactive, overweight and/or in need of anti-depressants. And this was no isolated study. The IEEP report is actually a meta-analysis of 200 studies conducted all over Europe which all found a positive correlation between tree proximity and human health, happiness and longevity.