Stefano Boeri Architetti’s Smart Forest City plan for Cancun, Mexico, takes the concept of a green city to entirely new levels. Abi Millar looks at the project and considers what lessons can be learnt for other schemes.
The Smart Forest City near Cancun, Mexico, is a city masterplan with a difference. Billed as the ‘first forest city of the new millennium’, it is a contemporary city-cum botanical garden, which, as well as hosting 130,000 inhabitants, will contain a staggering 7.5 million plants. From an energy perspective, it will be entirely self-sufficient.
“Smart Forest City Cancun is based on Mayan heritage in its relationship with the natural and sacred world,” said Stefano Boeri Architetti, the studio responsible, when plans were unveiled in October. “An urban ecosystem where nature and city are intertwined and act as one organism.”
It’s certainly a change from the original plan for the site – namely to build a gigantic shopping mall. Situated on a 557-hectare site, which was previously occupied by a sand quarry, the proposed city includes 400 hectares of green space. The upshot is that it’s carbon negative, absorbing 116,000 tons of CO2 each year while emitting just 5,800.
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