Sweden will soon be home to the largest known “wooden city” in the world — and the environmental benefits of the material keep stacking up.
Real estate developer Atrium Ljungberg announced that it has plans to begin constructing a massive wooden city in Stockholm in 2025. The Stockholm Wood City will stretch across 2.7 million square feet and house 7,000 offices and 2,000 homes in the southeast section of Sweden’s capital, according to CNN.
Working in wood has a number of environmental advantages — and since real estate is responsible for around 40% of global emissions of planet-warming gases, according to McKinsey, it’s important that alternative materials and methods like timber construction develop to limit the industry’s pollution. Building with the material creates substantially fewer carbon emissions than traditional materials — in fact, Nature reports that large-scale adoption of wooden construction could decrease the planet’s carbon dioxide emissions by 106 gigatons (equivalent to almost three years of pollution).
CNN reports that since wood is a carbon sink, the material absorbs carbon dioxide from the air and holds it rather than sending it back into the atmosphere. According to a study by North Carolina State University, wooden buildings tend to have better air quality than structures made from other materials.
Though some have expressed concerns about the fire hazards of such an extensive wood project, supporters of the material posit that it’s safer overall than many steel buildings, according to CNN.
“Our industry leaves a big mark, and it is important for us to make a positive difference in both the shorter and longer term. We want to create an environment where our customers, those who will live and work here, can participate in the development and design of the city district of the future,” Annica Ånäs, the CEO of Atrium Ljungberg, said in a statement.
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