When I think about the city I hope to one day settle in there are several factors I take into consideration. Two of the things are architecture and landscape. By architecture I don’t necessarily mean the buildings have to be from a certain time period or have a certain design style but I do like a city with variety and personality in their buildings. I don’t want to live in a town with track “circuit card” houses, where the only variety comes in color choices (shades of off-white/tan) and show house sample choices (style/layout #1, #2, or #3). Another of my criteria for a city is how much greenery and natural surroundings there is. I need a city with bike lanes, trees, water, wildlife, parks and preferably fresh, clean air.
I love big cities but I also am attracted to rural spaces, which is why I love cities like Portland, the city of bridges but also the city of roses; Chicago, a big metropolitan but is right there on the Lake Michigan front; and Los Angeles, which although one of the most polluted cities in the united states, is nestled in between the Angeles and San Bernadino Forests and the Pacific Ocean. What I like is the juxtaposition of it– city and nature. From Central Park in New York to small community gardens in Los Angeles, architects and city planners strive to bring some of nature to the land that humans have, essentially, destroyed in many parts of the world. These small doses of plant life add immensely to the lives and overall well-being of its citizens and adds to the aesthetics of a city.
But this idea goes both ways, while some projects am to add greenery to the city, others build foreign structures on pure earth. with today’s advance technology, as well as increased overpopulation and pollution, these types of architectural occurrences are becoming more essential. Idealistically, the earth’s natural lands and resources would remain untouched but the reality is that the population is growing and the resources are limited.
Under construction in Milan is Bosco Verticale, a 27- story “vertical forest” skyscraper designed by architect Stefano Boeri, that aims to filter and improve the polluted climate of milan with the diverse plant life growing on each floor of the building. In a related way, the Mentougou Eco Valley, designed by Helsinko’s Eriksson Architects, is a facility built to test the changing environment. This city development plan, which is to be completed in 2016 and consists of research institutes as well as housing built into the lush green of the valley, will focus on different aspects of a city’s sustainability, such as water, traffic, air, and energy. These two projects are really pushing the boundaries of architecture and design while also working for the advancement of sustainable living. This type of architectural juxtaposition is astonishing and that fact that they are also green– it’s a win-win for modern times.
Bosco Verticale, Milan:
Mentougou Eco Valley, near Beijing:
Read more about these projects here and here.