Lonely Planet Writer

China is planning a magical ‘forest city’ with one million plants to combat air pollution

Continuing the global architectural trend towards a greener future, an exciting project is being planned for the southern Chinese city of Liuzhou. Under the leadership of visionary Italian architect and urban planner Stefano Boeri, the northern part of the region will be converted into a ‘forest city’, whose offices, houses, hotels, hospitals and schools will be entirely covered by plants and trees.

Liuzho Forset City from above
Aerial view of Stefano Boeri’s Liuzhou Forest City. Image courtesy of Stefano Boeri Architects

Incredibly, once the project is complete, the city will be home to 40,000 trees and almost one million plants, made up of over 100 species. “The diffusion of these plants”, begins Boeri, “not only in parks and gardens or along the streets, but also over building façades, will allow this energy self-sufficient city to contribute to improving air quality. It will decrease the average air temperature, create noise barriers, and improve the biodiversity of living species, generating the habitat for birds, insects and small animals that inhabit the Liuzhou territory.”

Liuzhou Forest City planned for 2020
Artist’s impression of the planned Liuzhou Forest. Image courtesy of Stefano Boeri Architects

The forest city will host 30,000 people, absorb almost 10,000 tons of CO2 and 57 tons of pollutants per year, while also producing around 900 tons of oxygen. Boeri is also keen to ensure the buildings themselves are as eco-friendly as possible. “The city will have all the characteristics of an energy self-sufficient urban establishment”, he explains, “geothermal energy for interior air-conditioning, and solar panels over the roofs for collecting renewable energy.”

Ground view of the planned forest city in Liuzho. Image courtesy of Stefano Boeri Architects
Ground view of the planned forest city in Liuzhou. Image courtesy of Stefano Boeri Architects

Even getting around Liuzhou will be sustainable; “The new green city, entirely wired, will be connected to Liuzhou through a fast rail line used by electric cars, and will host various residential areas, commercial and recreational spaces, two schools and a hospital.”

Forest City development to combat air pollution
Stefano Boeri’s planned Liuzhou Forest City. Image courtesy of Stefano Boeri Architects

It’s the type of urban planning we’ll hopefully see lots more of in the future. “After the success of the Vertical Forest in Milan,” says Boeri, which is going to be replicated in many other parts of the world, we’re continuing our research into a new generation of urban environments. These ideas face climate change, and propose new models for the future of our planet.” Works on Liuzhou Forest City begin by 2020.