Ambitious plans for an entirely green “forest city” in China may soon become a reality with construction breaking ground on the innovative project aimed at turning a suburb of the Guangxi city of Liuzhou into the world’s first literal “urban jungle.”
Designed by Stefano Boeri, an Italian architect known for his “vertical forest” buildings in Milan, this new mini-city will span over 175-hectacres and house 30,000 people. The development is just the latest way that the Chinese government is attempting to combat the deadly smog that plagues its country.
The new city, which is a true trail-blazer when it comes to sustainable living on an urban scale, will use geothermal and solar power in order to be entirely energy self-sufficient. Despite using no coal or fossil fuels, this new complex will be completely functional as a modern city. Residents can expect to have all the luxuries of a contemporary, urban lifestyle, as the plans include commercial, residential and recreational spaces, along with schools and a hospital.
Many green initiatives are focused on achieving a net zero contribution to pollution, suggesting that it is easier to start by doing no harm, rather than good. However, the “forest city” of Liuzhou is focused on actively battling China’s air pollution problems. The entire complex will be covered with almost 1 million plants and 40,000 trees, enough vegetation to absorb nearly 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide and 57 tons of pollutants each year. In addition to removing toxic particles from the environment, these plants will also produce nearly 900 tons of oxygen annually.
Not only does the vegetation improve the lives of its human inhabitants, by providing them with cleaner air, cooler temperatures and natural noise barriers, but it also benefits the local ecosystem. The carefully-orchestrated growth of vegetation, made up of more than 100 different types of plants, is expected to provide a more hospitable environment for the region’s local animal and insect species.
Construction is scheduled to finish on the project in 2020, and residents and visitors will be able to access the city via a high-speed electric train from Liuzhou proper.
Meanwhile, Boeri’s firm also has other plans for China, including building the country’s first “vertical forest” in Nanjing and an even more ambitious proposal to turn the smoggy Hebei capital of Shijiazhuang into a “forest city” on an even grander scale.
By Emma Abrams
[Images via Stefano Boeri Architetti]
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