Imagine a living forest transformed, unharmed, into a working city. This isn’t an elven kingdom from the Lord of the Rings or the forest moon of Endor. It’s a real place — or at least it’s going to be. The Chinese government has broken ground on a, well, groundbreaking plan for a city that more than offsets its own carbon output. It’s called Liuzhou Forest City, and it’s on schedule to be completed by 2020.
Designed by the Italian firm Stefano Boeri Architetti (SBA), the plans for the finished forest city are a sight to behold. It’s got much the same shape as any other city, though some of the low, ziggurat-like buildings almost evoke a natural hill or mound. But what really catches your eye is the plant life. Every inch of this place, from the apartment buildings to the hospitals to the public schools, is covered in green. Lush woodlands cover every flat roof, and other plants take over the vertical space by hanging over the many balconies.
The plants help diminish the city’s pollution footprint, but they’re only the most visible part of a holistically eco-friendly design. Geothermal and solar energy will help the city regulate its temperature, and transit will be covered by an electric rail. When complete, the 40,000 trees of Liuzhou Forest City will absorb up to 10,000 tons of CO2 and 57 tons of industrial grime, and produce approximately 900 tons of oxygen.
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