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China is building a vertical forest in Nanjing

China is building a vertical forest in Nanjing

In order to help combat air pollution, China is looking to build a vertical forest consisting of two building covered in vegetation.

The city of Nanjing, like most of the cities in China, is in the middle of a public health crisis thanks to the quality of the air. The level of pollutants in the air in China has gotten so bad that some reports state that nearly one-third of all deaths in the country are in some way connected to the poor air quality. That equals something close to a million deaths a year in China from pollution alone.

The Chinese are, of course, keenly aware of this and are actively looking for ways to combat what it sees as a public health crisis. One of the more intriguing ideas is a vertical forest, consisting of two high-rise buildings covered in vegetation, built in the middle of a city where it can produce concentrated doses of oxygen while absorbing carbon dioxide.

The idea for a vertical forest was first presented to Milan, Italy. The city embraced the concept wholeheartedly, and the architects began to present their ideas around the world. The Chinese city of Nanjing also liked the concept, and commissioned the architects to build one of the vertical forests in the Chinese city that is home to a mere 8.23 million, a relative village compared to many of the Chinese megacities.

The idea is to build two towers – one 656 feet, the other 354 feet tall – that will sit upon a larger podium that’s a few stories tall. The towers will contain 1,100 trees from 23 species and 2,500 plants. The combined vegetation will produce 132 pounds of oxygen each day while absorbing carbon dioxide.

The towers will also be available for residential and commercial use. The taller of the two will feature offices, a museum, a school dedicated (appropriately enough) to green architecture, and a rooftop club. The second tower will contain a 247-room Hyatt Hotel and a rooftop swimming pool. There will also be shops, restaurants, conference rooms, and more in the podium.

The towers will be the first of their kind in Asia, but they probably won’t be the last. The Nanjing towers are scheduled to open in 2018 or 2019, with plans to build more in Shanghai, Guizhou, Shijiazhuang, Liuzhou, and Chongqing. Assuming they do well enough to attract tenants, each city may opt for several of these buildings.

These vertical forests may not be enough to fully clean the skies of Chinese megacities, but they should help.



Founder and DBP boss. Ryan likes the Kansas Jayhawks, long walks on the beach, and high fiving unsuspecting people.