In March 2014, two architects decided to share their urban explorations with the world using the hashtag #DoNotSettle. Three years later, using a DJI Mavic Pro drone, the architects Wahyu Pratomo (based in the Netherlands) and Kris Provoost (based in Shanghai) captured the work of Heatherwick Studio, the British design company led by Thomas Heatherwick, near Shanghai’s 50 Moganshan Road (or M50) art district.

Heatherwick Studio is currently working on covering the project site with a copious amount of trees, allowing smog-smothered Shanghai to breathe in the oxygen exhaled by “tree-covered mountains.” The development is planned to be inaugurated in 2018.

“Conceived not as a building but as a piece of topography, the design takes the form of two tree-covered mountains, populated by approximately one thousand structural columns,” says Heatherwick Studio. “Instead of being hidden behind the facade, the columns are the defining feature of the design, emerging from the building to support plants and trees.”

Ariel View of Art District Development in Shanghai

Screenshot from #DoNotSettle’s Video.

As shown in #DoNotSettle’s video, Heatherwick’s project dots the terraced forms of Moganshan with 1,000 trees. Moganshan, described as a pair of tree-covered mountains, will include housing, offices, shops, hotel rooms and a school.

Air pollution is more than just a nuisance; it can be fatal. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) conducted studies revealing that in 2010, 223,000 deaths from lung cancer worldwide were caused by air pollution, in addition to finding evidence that it also increases the risk of bladder cancer.

Nanjing University’s School of the Environment published a study that linked smog to 31.8% of all deaths in China. In response, the country has enlisted the help of architects and urban planners from around the world to design ways to combat the smog crisis.

Similar to Heatherwick’s project, Liuzhou — an industrial city in the Guangxi Zhuang province in southern China — is getting a new, green neighbor. Italian architect, Stefano Boeri, has announced plans to grow a forest city filled with 40,000 trees and one million plants comprised of 100 different species. The plants are planned to be grown on balconies and roofs of the city’s skyscrapers, lining 175 hectares (432 acres) along the Liujiang River.

 

*Never miss a story like this - subscribe to our weekly highlights and stay up-to-date