Stefano Boeri, an Italian architect, recently announced his plans to help decrease pollution in Nanjing, a city in eastern China. Boeri is famous for the Bosco Verticale, or Vertical Forest, a skyscraper layered with trees. He plans to build two similar structures in Nanjing: towers which will be home to 23 different species of trees and more than 2,500 cascading shrubs. The two buildings will house offices, a luxury hotel, a museum, and a green architecture school. They are already under construction and are scheduled to be completed next year.

China is a country known for its high levels of pollution, especially in its cities. While Boeri is delighted that his towers will help the people of Nanjing, he has an even bigger goal to help tackle the pollution problem. He wants to create “forest cities” to help clear the air in China.

“We have been asked to design an entire city where you don’t only have one tall building but you have 100 or 200 buildings of different sizes, all with trees and plants on the facades,” Boeri said. “We are working very seriously on designing all the different buildings. By 2020 we could imagine having the first forest city in China.”

Boeri’s buildings are projected to absorb 25 tons of carbon dioxide from Nanjing’s air every year and produce 60 kg of oxygen each day.

Boeri’s first “forest city” will be in Luizhou, a city of 1.5 million people in the southern province of Guangxi. He plans to build a second city around Shijiazhuang, a large industrial metropolis that consistently finds itself on China’s lists of most polluted cities. Boeri hopes to create many of these sustainable mini-cities which will help provide a greener future for the country.

Boeri says that this idea is simple but not spectacular. “What is spectacular is the nature, the idea of having a building that changes color with each season. The plants and trees are growing and they are completely changing.”

Boeri believes his project will lay the groundwork for similar developments elsewhere: “We think—and we hope—that this idea of vertical forests can be replicated everywhere. I hope that what we have done can be useful for other kinds of experiments.”


Elizabeth is from southern West Virginia. She graduated with her Bachelor's from Franciscan University. She enjoys reading, hiking, dancing, and attempting to play the piano correctly. A writer since childhood, she hopes to help the world through her words.