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Image credit: Stefano Boeri Architetti

A city covered in trees will fight air pollution in China

Construction is already underway.
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Stefano Boeri Architetti

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It's easy to find buildings laced with greenery in order to reduce their CO2 footprints. But what about an entire city? That's on its way. Construction has started on Liuzhou Forest City, a 30,000-person urban development where every building will be covered in pollution-reducing plants (over 1 million of them, in fact). They'll also rely on geothermal energy for air conditioning and pack solar panels to collect their own energy. Logically, the transportation network will be green as well. It'll revolve around electric cars and a central rail line that links the experimental space to the city of Liuzhou.

If all goes well, the project will absorb nearly 10,000 tons of CO2 (and 57 tons of other pollutants) on a yearly basis, and pump out 900 tons of oxygen in the process. This isn't some far-off dream, either, as Boeri's firm expects to complete the Forest City by 2020.

Just don't count on these eco-friendly cities becoming ubiquitous. Even if municipalities are fine with retrofitting existing buildings, they'll still need ideal climates to support all that flora. There's a good reason why Boeri's team is setting up in southern China -- it's easy to maintain plant life in an area which rarely deals with freezing temperatures. Nonetheless, this hints at a future where entire population centers fight air pollution and leave a relatively tiny mark on the environment.

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