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Brief Published: 27 Feb 2017

China's Forest Cities

Nanjing Green Towers will be the first 'vertical forest' built in Asia

Italian architect Stefano Boeri has announced plans for a ‘vertical forest’ in China – two neighbouring towers in central Nanjing that will be covered with 23 species of tree and more than 2,500 cascading shrubs.

The project, which is already under construction in the city's Pukou District, will provide housing, a hotel and office space while fighting pollution with its oxygen-producing plant-covered facades. The Nanjing Vertical Forest is reportedly the third prototype from an urban forestation and demineralisation project that Stefano Boeri Architects will develop all over the world, particularly in other Chinese cities such as Shijiazhuang, Liuzhou, Guizhou, Shanghai and Chongqing. The architect recently told the UK’s Guardian newspaper that by 2020, China could potentially have its first forest city – around 100 to 200 buildings with trees and plant-covered facades. 

The green city concept taps into rising consumer concern about air toxicity levels. In the past decade, internet searches for "best air purifier" and "air-quality index" rose by more than 750% (Nissan, 2016). Similar projects that combat pollution include Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde’s Smog Free Tower, modelled on his pollution-eating vacuum cleaner, and Finnish start-up Naava's indoor green walls that draw in toxins via plants' roots to cleanse air in offices and homes.

For more on how city dwellers are combating the polluted air of urban life, see Nature Embracers. Read Reframing Rare to explore how climate change and rising pollution are making consumers rethink luxury.