Skip to main content

From Milan to Mars, Architect Stefano Boeri is Creating Vertical Forests

Stefano Boeri Architetti

For years now, major cities around the world have been suffering from housing shortages. Many architects have been coming up with clever solutions, dreaming up everything from micro apartments to turning unexpected structures into homes. However, it seems the best ideas are coming from sci-fi movies like Bladerunner which show the future of cities as towering skyscrapers packed with efficiency apartments. Or perhaps the solution to dealing with overpopulation is colonizing Mars and the asteroid belt like on the show The Expanse. Architect Stefano Boeri sees the future as both.

However, unlike the cold, dirty, lifeless concrete towers science fiction sees as the future of housing, Boeri envisions a landscape of high-rise forests, bringing life to concrete, urban jungles.

With the shocking news that we only have until 2030 to stop “catastrophic climate change,” people around the world are looking at what we can do right now to save the planet before it’s too late. For years, architects have been striving to develop sustainable structures that aren’t just low-impact, but help to improve the quality of the environment in which they are built. Based in Italy, Boeri has already begun a process of developing innovative residential structures that bring the forests back to cities. He calls them Vertical Forests and he sees this as the future of housing and a solution to stopping climate change all rolled into one.

His vision has already been realized in Milan, with the construction of two of his Vertical Forest towers. In total, the towers contain 800 trees, 4,500 shrubs, and 15,000 plants. The density of all this foliage means that the towers create their own microclimate which rids the air of dust and CO2 while producing oxygen and humidity. The Vertical Forests also become a mini ecosystem in their own right, attracting birds and insects which help to pollinate the plants and keep the forest thriving.

The positive environmental impact isn’t the only benefit brought by the Vertical Forests. The people who live inside of the towers get to enjoy beautiful city views while being protected from the sun’s harmful rays. The heavy foliage provides acoustic buffering from the loud noises of the city. And there is also the advantage of squeezing more housing into a smaller area by going up rather than trying to spread out.

While his hometown of Milan was the testing ground for the Vertical Forests, Boeri has been hard at work planning towers for other major cities and beyond. Construction is already underway in several cities throughout the world including Beijing and Paris.

But Boeri is not stopping there.

He’s developing ideas for Vertical Forests that can be built on Mars once humans finally reach the red planet. The project, dubbed  “Vertical Forest Seeds on Mars,” is aiming for a “new Shanghai” to be built in the year 2117. So, while he won’t be around to see this one to fruition, Boeri is laying the groundwork so future generations can ensure humanity’s survival should we ever need to leave this planet.

Editors' Recommendations

Kelsey Machado
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kelsey is a professional interior designer with over a decade of experience in the design field. With a passion for…
From Montblanc to Chopard: Get up to 68% off luxury pens today
Montblanc pen, desk

Whether you’ve just started journalling or you need a great pen for writing up notes at work, there are some great luxury pens on sale now at Jomashop. Nearly one hundred different pens are available in the sale with up to 68% off select models. Whatever your budget or intentions, it’s worth clicking the button below to see the full sale for yourself. There are some big name brands here with different styles available too. Feel like you need some guidance instead? Here’s a quick look at what we recommend.

What to shop for in the Jomashop luxury pen sale
If you want one of the best fountain pens, check out the which is 27% off so it’s down to $495 from $680. The pen is made of black precious resin with gold-plated details. It has a 14kt gold nib while the Montblanc floating star emblem is suitably prominent but not too obvious. If you need a beautiful fountain pen for occasional use, you deserve to treat yourself to the Montblanc Meisterstuck Classique Fountain Pen.

Read more
The 8 best cigars for golfing, recommended by a cigar expert
Men drinking and playing golf, the best cigars for golfing.

 

Golf and cigars are a fantastic match, like peanut butter and jelly, chips and salsa, or chicken and waffles. You're outdoors, on the green most of the time, if you're a good shot anyway, and, hopefully, basking in beautiful weather. So, it's a great time to light up and enjoy a puff or two between swings or while driving around on a cart. Of course, there's always the point that you're usually multi-tasking, so you probably don't want to light up a super expensive cigar -- you won't get to enjoy it as much. What cigars are good to light up while golfing? You'll be putting it down a lot, so it needs to burn reliably and offer a relaxing, enjoyable smoke when you do puff, but also, you don't want it to break the bank and make you feel like you're missing out if you can't baby it the whole time.

Read more
The 10 best Nicaraguan cigars I’ve tried and tested in 2024
Maduro cigars in a lineup ready to smoke.

Most people love Cuban cigars, but I'm not most people. I won't argue that Cuban cigars are bad; they're definitely not, but I will say they're usually popular because of the forbidden fruit situation. I would describe them as airy and light on flavor. Not bad flavor, just not particularly strong. Dollar for dollar, there are a lot of other cigars made elsewhere that are worth spending your money on because they are delicious. If I had to choose, I would go Nicaraguan almost every time.

Most Nicaraguan tobacco is grown in the small town of Esteli, and the local soil gives the tobacco its rich, complex, and full-bodied flavor. It's on my bucket list of places to visit, and I'd love to get a first-hand look at how they grow, ferment, and produce cigars -- some of the best in the industry. Nicaraguan tobacco is about as good as it gets if you like your cigars strong and memorable. And because they're so flavorful, Nicaraguan cigars are super versatile. You can smoke them in the morning with coffee, after lunch, or late in the evening, and they pair nicely with a wide variety of beverages. Moreover, they come in various strengths, sizes, and blends, from mild and medium to some of the most full-bodied cigars you'll have the pleasure of tasting.

Read more