Milan has become the stage of a new plan to reinvent the Fashion Capital of the world as the Urban Forestry Capital of Europe, which involves doubling the current number of trees by 2030 to create a sustainable and environmentally-forward economy.
The mayor of Milan, Giuessep Sala, has introduced the bare bones of a plan to see Milan reinvent its title of the Fashion Capital of the world as the Forestry Capital of Europe by 2030. The plan leads off recent green developments in the city where the railway yards and EXPO area were regenerated, the Navigli canals and green rays were the focus of a rediscovery project, and the orbital forests of Metroboscu were recovered. In addition to this, greenery and urban gardens were installed throughout the city, in courtyards, and on walls and rooftops, and the iconic Vertical Forest by Italian architect, Stefano Boeri was constructed.
Thanks to these developments, a proposal to turn Milan into the European Capital of Urban Forestry was introduced. The proposal is a colossal feat as it aims to double the current tree population from 11 to 22 million by the proposed time, 25 percent of the city’s forest areas.
Leading off this original plan, Stefano Boeri himself reintroduced this concept, proposing to reform Milan to the European capital of forestry by 2030.
Boeri is famous for his green city works such as China’s Liuzhou Forest City, Netherland’s Hawthorn Tower, Paris’ Forêt Blanche, and the Milan Vertical Forest, Bosco Verticale.
Boeri introduced his plan in a speech at the third edition of the 2017 Stati Generali del Verde Pubblico (General States of the Public Green) conference. This comes in the wake of Milan’s loss to Amsterdam who were chosen as the location of the European Medicine Agency’s (EMA) base. The base would have brought thousands of jobs to the area and is a heavy blow to Milan’s economy. Boeri discussed this during his speech and emphasised the impact the project would have as the reinvention of Milan to the capital of green innovation would significantly boost its economy, global appeal, and sustainable imprint.
Stefano Boeri's Vertical Forest Plan
Boeri’s innovative Vertical Forest marked a turning point for the city and introduced the beginnings of a sustainable economy. The project was created to set a new standard for sustainable living, creating a biological habitat right in the middle of the city. Two towers were built with a range of 780 large and small trees, 5000 shrubs and 11,000 floral plants planted on the balconies. The plants will assist in depolluting the city, absorbing dust, waste and chemicals, and the vegetation will provide a habitat for birds and insects, in addition to creating a humid, oxygen-producing, micro-climate that will also provide natural shade for the residents high up in the sky.
In a statement from Boeri’s studio in 2014 when the towers were built, they explained that, "The creation of a number of vertical forests in the city will be able to create a network of environmental corridors which will give life to the main parks in the city, bringing the green space of avenues and gardens and connecting various spaces of spontaneous vegetation growth."
Boeri’s proposal for the reinvention of Milan stems and grows from this project, aiming to see these types of buildings replicated throughout the city in addition to the planting of the trees.
The key challenges for this reinvention lie in Milan’s significantly high level of energy consumption, especially as the iconic Fashion Capital of the world. The city will need to dramatically reduce its air pollution and energy consumption, and increase the biodiversity of living species. All of this can be achieved with the combination of the new tree plantation projects and the construction of Boeri’s Vertical Forest residences, which could act as a key component of the project in order to create a sustainable city that aims to become the Urban Forest capital of the world.
A visual representation of how Milan could look by 2030