China got itself drowned in air pollution, and now the country is fighting hard to make its air cleaner. The country became the first in Asia to build a vertical forest building and continued the efforts eventually building entire cities with forest buildings. The first such city was planned in Liuzhou, designed by the acclaimed architect Stefano Boeri. Now it plans to make a Forest City on four artificial islands in Malaysia.
The property development company Country Garden is responsible for the project and claims that the project is “a dream paradise for all mankind.” The city will house 700,000 citizens, which is more than the entire population of Washington D.C. The construction of the artificial islands began in the beginning of 2016, but so much of the work still remains, and the completion is not expected until 2040.
The cost of the island project nears $100 billion and once completed, it will hold 250,000 housing units, many office buildings, parks, public transport, hotel, restaurants; basically, everything that is meant to be a part of a regular city.
The newly planned forest city may sound exciting, but there really is no surety that it will flourish as expected. China has previously created over 500 new cities since the 1970’s, most of which ended up becoming ghost towns. The same is feared for this Forest City as 60 home investors have already pulled out of the project noticing the lack of commitment to quality. Most such projects are funded by the government that expects to move millions of people to rural areas for fighting poverty and increasing modernization. Of the 250,000 residential units that went on sale in 2016, only 15,000 were sold, and the remaining worth $2.6 billion remain in sales, which puts the success of the project in jeopardy.
Design firm Sasaki is behind the project’s master plans, and they describe the Forest City as “a global cluster of commerce and culture. Designed to cultivate a live/work lifestyle, it is comprised of financial institutions, technology and biotech research facilities, and a variety of creative industries that will establish an innovative and sustainable employment base providing an estimated 220,000 new jobs in southern Malaysia.”
The designs take a very modern approach where parking spaces and transport is underneath the ground, adding a bit more to the environmental friendly view of the city. The massive buildings and infrastructure planned for the city will be very complicated to implement as it will require the land to be very stable. Sasaki’s website displays the designs with details of the island edges, which mimic the natural way land meets water in the region.
Mangrove forests, urban promenades, tidal sea pools, and ecological breakwaters at the edges add to the luxury feel of the Forest City.
Here is a drone video of how the city looked like back in April this year.