The Vertical Forest in the Porta Nuova area of Milan is an understated marvel and an innovative prototype for how modern cities with deep historical roots can help humans, animals, and plants cohabitate for everyone’s benefit.
The two residential buildings create space for 800 trees, 15,000 plants, and 5,000 shrubs. This is the same number of plants you’d find on ~90,000 square feet of woodland on just ~9,000 square meters of urban space. The Vertical Forest reduces heat when it’s warm, regulates humidity, provides insulation when it’s cold, and cleans the air. And by the way, plants help humans by lowering our stress and anxiety. This greenery has provided a home for 1,600 species of butterflies and birds. An added bonus—if we building our cities vertically, we prevent them from sprawling horizontally which saves more land and the species that call that land home.
This kind of living architecture is a financial and health win for people and nature, and one we cannot afford to ignore. Cities across the world can adopt the ethos of the Vertical Forest and we will all benefit.