vertical gardens
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Vertical Gardens Are Cleaning One Of The World’s Most Polluted Places

I build this garden for us–Lenny Kravitz, “I Build This Garden For Us” (1989)

Vertical gardens are cleaning up the polluted cities in the world

Be it Nanjing, Barcelona or anywhere in between, architects are declaring war on the negative effects of urbanization by turning the otherwise unused real estate into fertile, vertical gardens.   There are numerous approaches to assaulting dangerous air pollution and uninspiring concrete facades from Barcelona planting 200.000 trees to Manhattan’s High Line.

“WHO Are You?”

The World Health Organisation suggests 12 square meters (129.167 square feet) of green area per person.  São Paulo, for example, has 2.8 square meters (about 30.14 square feet).  With more than 11 million residents, São Paulo is a distinctly dense area, with little room for greenery.

Image: M.90º


Guil Blanche is the founder of M.90º.  M.90º is the landscape business heading up São Paulo’s green revolution.  He told the press: “We started as a manifesto to occupy blind facades with vertical gardens and turn big cities into nicer, more livable places.”

Blanche states: “Through vertical gardens, we found a way to transform the urban landscape and bring more green to the city, which is abundant in dense urban areas.”  Indeed, M.90º has been dedicated to transforming the center of São Paulo since some time in 2013.  They began in the area surrounding the elevated highway called Minhocão (“Big Worm” in English) lessening the environmental impact of the more than 300,000 vehicles that regularly use it.

Image: M.90º

Blanche added: “We decided to transform the reality of the people who, according to studies, have a life expectancy 15 years lower than the Brazilian average.”  In the past two years, M.90º has produced 10 vertical gardens throughout  São Paulo using 62.5 metric tons of “recycled waste” thus lowering the amount of carbon dioxide in the city’s air by 16 metric tons.  At press time, M.90º are working on four more vertical gardens.

Blanche also reported that “[A] team of six people can build a 600 square meter vertical garden in approximately 30 days.  For the 10,950 square meter vertical gardens of the Green Corridor at Avenida 23 de Maio, it took us four months of non-stop work.”  Furthermore, in theory, M.90º should still be able to create 280,000 square meters of green space in a year without even using any ground space.  

Blanche concludes: “According to our studies, São Paulo has numerous urban roads that could be turned into green corridors.  We want to take vertical gardens to the city’s main avenues, which could benefit from the environmental effects and at the same time transform the very aggressive urban landscape in São Paulo.”