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This city is planning an enormous 'vertical forest' that will let residents live alongside over 10,000 plants and trees

The development will accommodate 200 apartments of different styles and 15,000 square meters of office space.

Wonderwoods Vertical Forest in Utrecht, Netherlands

Photo Credit: Stefano Boeri Architetti

Utrecht, Netherlands, will be the latest epicenter of award-winning Italian architect Stefano Boeri's vertical forest tower block — a project that will house over 10,000 plants and trees in addition to its residents.

Over a decade ago, Boeri designed his first vertical forest in Milan, inspiring a new generation of urban reforestation projects around the globe, from Europe to China

The "Wonderwoods Vertical Forest" will be ready for residents of The Netherlands' fourth-largest city by the summer of 2024, Euronews reported.

According to Euronews, the Wonderwoods development comprises two towers that will serve as residential and office spaces. The taller tower, known as Tower A, is designed to be a vertical forest.

In total, the site will accommodate 200 apartments of different styles and over 160,000 square feet of office space.

Euronews also reported that this urban ecosystem will be able to produce around 45 tons of oxygen on a yearly basis while also helping remove planet-warming gases from the atmosphere and capturing fine dust particles. 

But plants do more than just purify the air we breathe. They can also mitigate noise pollution and provide shade in the summer, keeping the building cool and reducing the need for air conditioning, which uses lots of energy. 

Studies have shown that there are also numerous psychological benefits to being surrounded by nature, and living in a building shrouded in plants and trees may have the potential to enhance the well-being of residents. 

In a 2021 interview on WBUR's Radio Boston, Peter James of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health's Department of Environmental Health said that trees' effects on us "translate into long-term [positive] changes in the incidence of depression, anxiety, cognitive decline, and chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease and cancer."

It appears people are catching on to the benefits of living in green structures. 

Stefano Boeri's vertical forest design was also being considered as the design for a green stadium in Milan, with over 61,000 square feet of horizontal green roofs, 7,500 square feet of green facades, and 3,300 trees, along with 56,300 shrubs of 70 different species.

With regard to the Wonderwoods Vertical Forest in Utrecht, architect Francesca Cesa Bianchi, a partner and project director at Stefano Boeri Architetti, told Euronews, "It will be a model of virtuous integration between architecture and living nature, which we hope will be an instrument to be used in making cities ever greener."

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