Gardens in the sky: The rise of green urban architecture

(CNN)With its balconies bursting with trees and shrubs, the “Bosco Verticale,” or “Vertical Forest” is giving rise to an entirely new take on the traditional idea of the urban jungle.

As city dwellers feel the squeeze on their living space and recreational areas, the twin residential towers in Milan, Italy offer up a refreshing vision of how urban skylines might look in the future.
Designed by Stefano Boeri architects, the towers, which rise to heights of 116 and 76 meters, contain more than 800 trees and 14,000 plants housed on steel-reinforced balconies.









“Urban ecology is very cool, I think … Personally I think green roofs also bring a great deal of aesthetic value for the people with balconies and windows facing them.
The march of green roofs seems set to continue ushering in a new, more ecologically orientated sprawl while for Boeri it’s also onwards and upwards with a bold new project planned for Shijiazhuang, China.
“The challenge that we have accepted is to design the prototype of a real forest city, which reflects and multiplies the prototype of the Vertical Forest,” he explains.
“A small vertical town of public residences and private buildings, offices, laboratories, museums, schools, completely enveloped by millions of leaves of plants, trees and lawns.”
For green highrises, the sky, it seems, is the limit.