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Chinese city’s mind-blowing ‘vertical forests’ will fight air pollution

The towers will supply the city of Nanjing with 132 pounds of oxygen each day.


Christina Bonnington


Posted on Feb 6, 2017   Updated on May 25, 2021, 1:33 am CDT

While America’s new administration pretends that climate change doesn’t exist, nearly every other country on the planet is trying to do something about greenhouse gas emissions and worsening air quality—including China. 

It may be a small move, but the city of Nanjing is building two new “Vertical Forest” towers designed by Italian architect Stefano Boeri. With 60,000 square feet of plantable space, the 354 and 656-foot tall buildings will absorb carbon dioxide and produce 132 pounds of fresh oxygen each day.

It’s no forest, but it may help make a small dent in Nanjing’s air quality. The average person breathes in approximately 4.47 pounds of oxygen each day, so these buildings would supply the daily oxygen needs of 29.5 people each day. Perhaps more importantly, though, the structure is designed to create an urban biological habitat for birds and insects, help filter dust particles from the air, and provide shade and acoustic shielding to the occupants within the buildings, all while providing some pleasant greenery in an otherwise concrete-filled city.

The smaller of the two towers will be a Hyatt hotel, while the larger will house offices, a museum, and an architecture school. The lower floors will be home to a mix of commercial, recreational, and educational applications. As for that biological diversity, the outside of the buildings will be outfitted with 1,100 trees representing 23 different local species, as well as 2,500 shrubs.  

The Nanjing Vertical Forest will actually be Boeri’s third Vertical Forest project, following successful developments in Milan, Italy, and Losanna, Switzerland. 


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*First Published: Feb 6, 2017, 5:47 pm CST