By John Vibes,

In most of the world, the cities and their architecture were not designed with the environmental impact in mind. Until quite recently, humans were unaware of the effect that they had on the environment, but now that our capabilities to cause damage have become so great, the fact has become impossible to ignore.

Experts are finding that there are more efficient and sustainable ways to organize our cities, but there aren’t many real-life examples of these ideas in action. However, an architecture firm based in Milan called Stefano Boeri Architetti is hoping to change that. The firm is working on designs for what they are calling a “nature-infused smart city,” which they hope will provide an example for future sustainable designs.

Photos Courtesy of Stefano Boeri Architetti

They are currently bidding for a 557-hectare site in Cancun, Mexico, with the property developer Grupo Karim. It is not certain that they will gain control of the site, as there are also other plans to turn the area into a shopping district. However, if the “Smart Forest City” is picked, it will become the home of up to 130,000 humans, along with 7,500,000 plants.

Photos Courtesy of Stefano Boeri Architetti

“Thanks to the new public parks and private gardens, thanks to the green roofs and to the green facades, the areas actually occupied will be given back by nature through a perfect balance between the amount of green areas and building footprint,” a press release said.

Photos Courtesy of Stefano Boeri Architetti

If it comes to fruition, the city will be surrounded by a ring of solar panels, which the German company Transsolar has already offered to help out with. There will also be an agricultural field belt that wraps around the center of the city, with a channel of water that will run along the crops to keep them watered.

“In particular, water is a key element in the project: it is gathered at the entrance of the City in a huge basin, where there is also a desalination tower, and it is distributed by a system of navigable canals in the whole settlement up to the agricultural fields belt that surrounds the urban area. A series of water gardens are designed to fight floods as a model for resilient landscapes,” the press release said.

These features are what will make it possible for the city to be entirely energy and food self-sufficient.

Photos Courtesy of Stefano Boeri Architetti

About the Author

John Vibes is an author and journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture, and focuses solutions-oriented approaches to social problems. He is also a host of The Free Your Mind Conference and The Free Thought Project Podcast.



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  1. Needs waterfalls or moving water. Also, those waterways could not accommodate today’s boaters safely. Those canals pictured require pontoons and nothing more, that is appropriate. Those drones…hmmm, why?

    Conscious communities of individuals who agree to work together with integrity should not require monitoring. The question is, can we scale such a construct or will all growth be organic, grassroots and local?

  2. “Nature infused”, “smart” and cctv drones are not part of any paradise I’ve ever pictured…

    I prefer “organic”, “intelligent” and privacy.


  3. I just love this concept. We need “local” communities to start the planning for transitioning now. I’m sure there are many individuals, retired or otherwise, who have the skills to start the process. Once underway, I’m sure it will blossum and gradually come into reality.

  4. Truly amazing! I wonder if they are going to use 3d printers for the building construction? This is the right step in the right direction for all of humanity thanks for sharing this!


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