NANJING VERTICAL FOREST
China is taking radical steps to tackle the challenge of air pollution. Italian architect Stefano Boeri - famous for his vertical urban jungle Bosco Verticale in Milan - has been approached to replicate his successful concept in the city of Nanjing, China. Technically speaking, the urban habitat should engulf 25 tons of carbon dioxide, to produce around 60 kg of oxygen every day. It will be achieved by blanketing two skyscrapers - from top to bottom - with 1,100 flourishing trees from 23 local species, and 2,500 cascading shrubs and plants. The green towers will shoot to the sky at 656 feet and 354 feet tall, hovering above the Nanjing Pukou District. And once again, the ambitious development falls within China’s grand plan to push urbanisation deep into the heart of the south of China’s Jiangsu province to help develop a Yangtze River economic zone. The tree-cladded towers will be the first built in Asia, but not the last, as Boeri reveal plans to construct futuristic green cities in the sky in Shanghai, Guizhou, Shijiazhuang, Liuzhou, and Chongqing. In fact, the architect has been asked by the Chinese to study the possibility of designing entire cities with 100 to 200 buildings with varying heights and sizes. His expectation is that China will be the first country in the world to host entire forest cities by 2020. An acknowledgement that it would take more than a pair of tree-covered skyscrapers to solve China’s notorious pollution crisis. The first such settlement will be located in Luizhou, a mid-sized Chinese city of about 1.5 million residents in the mountainous southern province of Guangxi. More improbably, a second project is being conceived around Shijiazhuang, an industrial hub in northern China that is consistently among the country’s 10 most polluted cities. It is a major turnaround in Chinese urban planning, where currently there is a shift in focus from developing huge megalopolises” to creating small sustainable settlements of 100,000 people or fewer, that are entirely based on low-carbon concepts.