An old Chinese proverb says: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the second best time is now.” The planners of a new city have taken this to heart, with a bold scheme to create a ‘vertical forest’, including almost one million plants.
The Liuzhou Forest City in Guangxi province will also include trees as part of the high-rise architecture, where greenery will go hand in hand with the 30,000 homes being built. They’ll trail over balconies rising hundreds of meters into the air, practically blotting out the concrete from view.
The project in the south of the country will feature about 40,000 trees comprising 100 different species, including many which are not indigenous to China. The city is being designed by Italian architect Stefano Boeri, who has already created a pair of plant-covered skyscrapers in Nanjing along with vertical forests in his native Italy.
As well as being aesthetically pleasing, the new city serves a serious environmental purpose. It is estimated that the combined force of the plants will absorb nearly 10,000 tons of CO2 – equivalent to 30 Boeing 747 Jumbo jets – along with 57 tons of pollutants from the atmosphere each year. And it will simultaneously generate around 900 tons of oxygen. Taken together, they should both go a long way in combatting China’s immense smog problem caused by decades of pollution in its mega-cities.
The new city also aims to be sustainable in its daily operations, using solar panels to generate electricity and local geothermal power for air conditioning. A fast rail line connecting the apartments with local amenities including a business park, schools and a new hospital will run on locally generated electricity. The project has been started and is planned to be fully completed by 2020.
“The integration of green sustainability development, renewable energy and high speed rail in the Forest City project reflects China’s attempt in transiting its economy to more sustainable growth through technology and innovation,” says Yaowei Xu, senior analyst in the Robeco emerging markets team.
“Environmental sustainability is high on the agenda of the Chinese government. This will have a substantial impact on industries domestically, or even globally. Stricter environmental protection measures and on-going supply-side reforms are reshaping the competitive landscape of China’s materials industry.”
“China has also pledged that 20% of its energy will come from renewable sources by 2030, a colossal undertaking equivalent to powering the US national grid purely through non-fossil fuels. Additionally, China announced in September an aggressive new quota system for stimulating production of new energy vehicles (NEV).”
“In light of all these trends, in our emerging market portfolios we invest in gas utilities and some Chinese automobile companies that are advancing rapidly on NEV production. We also like the leaders in certain materials sector which will benefit from market share gains and enhanced pricing power.”