Urban greening in high density environments

By Kirsty Smith and Julia Bell

High density living is increasingly becoming the norm for the millions of people that want to live in our global cities. People assume that they must give up their connection to nature in order to live in central locations within our cities. However, given the increase in the amount of high rise residential apartments, designers are starting to shift towards locating high density development in locations adjacent to parklands and open spaces and are including tree planting within high density residential developments in city centres creating the “Vertical Forest”.

Image Source: Dezeen

The first project born from this concept by Boeri Studio is now nearing completion in the Isola area of Milan's fast-developing Porta Nuova district. Two towers, measuring 80 and 112 metres, are set to open later this year and are already home to 900 trees.

The Vertical Forest has at its heart a concept of architecture which uses the changing shape and form of leaves for its facades, and hands over to the vegetation the task of absorbing the dust in the air, and creating an adequate micro-climate in order to filter out the sunlight. This is a kind of biological architecture which refuses to adopt a strictly technological and mechanical approach to environmental sustainability.

Vertical Forest is an anti-sprawl measure which aims to control and reduce urban expansion. If we think of them in terms of urban densification, each tower of the Vertical Forest is equivalent to an area of urban sprawl of family houses and buildings of up to 50,000 square metres.
Image Source: Dezeen
Examples of “vertical gardens” can be found across various Australian Cities, including One Central Park in Sydney, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel who teamed up with botanist Patrick Blanc. The building's facade features one of the tallest green walls in the world, spanning over 1,000 square metres, the 21 plant-covered panels are made up of 35 different species

Image source: Dezeen
There is a great opportunity in sub-tropical countries to create these vertical forests which will improve the quality of life for residents of high rise residential developments.

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