Egypt Introduces First “Vertical Forest” to Africa to Solve Housing Crisis and Pollution

By Jason Erickson

It’s well understood by most readers of this site that Egypt has experienced massive turmoil over the last decade in the aftermath of a contentious revolution in 2011. While it’s a tendency to ignore political machinations in far-off lands, unless they have a demonstrable effect at home, there is one area of concern for which everyone should be empathetic: overcrowding and urban pollution.

It is an inescapable reality that an increasing number of people are congregating toward the world’s cities and megacities. Cairo is one of the cities that sits on the threshold of becoming a megacity, which is defined as any city with a population in excess of 10 million people. As reported by Truth Theory, a group of landscape architects and designers is taking a novel approach to redefining the world’s largest urban spaces with Africa’s first “Vertical Forest.” Their primary mission is to bring green spaces to otherwise barren urban landscapes in order to reduce pollution, keep cities cooler and offer the concept of natural conservation into man-made areas.

The three buildings will contain around 350 trees along with over 14,000 shrubs from around 100 species. While one building would function as a hotel, others would be used as housing complexes.

This planned city is soon going to overthrow Cairo as the capital of Egypt and would contain ministries, financial districts, apartments, and embassies. Since Cairo is suffering from overpopulation and pollution, this seems to be a viable solution.

It would also provide shelter for a host of insects and birds. The shrubs and trees would photosynthesize and produce clean oxygen for all.

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Vertical forests not only deal with pollution but also combat the housing crisis. Boeri’s designs provide more and more housing, while also keeping space for other designs to come up. For, by 2050, it is estimated that around 68% of the entire world’s demography would shift towards the urban areas.

The team is led by Italian architect Stefano Boeri who already has a history of success in his home country, as you can see in the video below.

Regardless of your personal views of “climate change,” as Stefano rightly notes “we have a common issue” in the larger cities of the world regarding pollution-related illness and death. This has a far greater personal and economic impact than most people realize. Stefano’s vision could be an even greater contribution to Cairo, which has nearly 10 times the population of Milan.

Vertical Forests are certainly a commendable step in the right direction to tackle pollution, as well as providing an added benefit of cleaner and more plentiful housing. However, traditional agriculture also has been suffering worldwide and vertical development could offer additional help to those who go hungry on a regular basis.

Vertical Farming as a means of both self-sufficiency and wider cultural support is something we have reported on extensively, as newer technology is bringing cost efficiency and ease of use to urban areas. The traditional skyscraper represents a massive amount of vertical space with potential to incorporate more than just pollution reduction and additional oxygen into this symbol of the urban landscape. According to Vertical Farming’s founder, Dickson Despommier, a thirty-story building could feed 50,000 people. An estimated 165 of these “farmscrapers” would feed all of New York City and, by extension, would greatly help a city like Cairo.

The concept of Vertical Farming solves a multitude of problems; Verticalfarm.com lists 15 advantages. Here are some highlights:

  • Year-round crop production: 1 indoor acre is equivalent to 4-6 outdoor acres or more (strawberries for example would be a 1 acre indoor to 30 acre outdoor equivalent
  • No weather-related crop loss.
  • All VF food is grown organically: no herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers.
  • VF virtually eliminates agricultural runoff by recycling black water.
  • VF dramatically reduces fossil fuel use (no tractors, plows, shipping).
  • VF converts abandoned urban properties into food production centers.
  • VF could reduce physical conflicts resulting from battles to control limited resources.
  • And Vertical Farming is not limited to produce; preliminary plans include chickens, ducks, geese, fish, crustaceans, and mollusks to be raised within the same building, creating one large integrated system of food production.

Various economic crises around the world have left abandoned buildings, empty malls and dilapidated houses with enormous potential if we begin to expand our thinking. Vertical Forests and Vertical Farming appear to represent two key ways that we can maintain our connection to nature and self-sufficient food production even as modern society continues to lead us into more concentrated and dependent urban environments.


Jason Erickson writes for NaturalBlaze.com. This article (Egypt Introduces First “Vertical Forest” to Africa to Solve Housing Crisis and Pollution) may be republished in part or in full with author attribution and source link.

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