"We have been asked to design an entire city where you don’t only have one tall building but you have 100 or 200 buildings of different sizes, all with trees and plants on the facades," Boeri told the Guardian. "By 2020 we could imagine having the first forest city in China."
It's a plan that will hopefully feed into initiatives to counter the country's smog and air pollution problem -- a serious enough concern that China's government had to redouble efforts to fight it earlier this year. China has some of the worst air pollution problems in the world. "Environmental pollution remains grave, and in particular, some areas are frequently hit by heavy smog," Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said in a statement earlier this year.
For now, construction on two vertical forest towers similar to the one in Milan is underway, but Boeri plans on eventually expanding the effort to the Chinese cities Liuzhou and Shijiazhuang. Two individual towers won't do much on their own to fight air pollution. Despite the amount of plants that will be used in the Nanjing complex, the average car pumps out so much pollution -- about 4.7 metric tons of CO2 a year -- that the total number of plants in the Nanjing towers will only clean up the equivalent to what roughly 5 cars a year produce.