Solving Cities

Pollution fighting vertical gardens rise in Mexico City

Pollution fighting vertical gardens rise in Mexico City

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Vertical gardens that clean the air in Mexico City are symbols of the city's green pursuits.

Three air-cleaning vertical gardens have sprouted up throughout Mexico City.

Damien Cave, of the New York Times, reports that the green-sculptures -- functioning as both art and oxygenators -- were installed by the local nonprofit VerdMX. The sculptures are four-stories high and have the ability to filter 40 tons of greenhouse gasses and 33 pounds of heavy metals.

And they are just the latest example of why Mexico City has been the urban sustainability talk of the developing world. Cave writes:

Mexico City has become an incubator for these kinds of groups, which mix corporate financing with new ideas. Some say the activity stems from the tangible nature of the problem; bad pollution is felt in the scratchy throats of all. But regardless, among the young, hip and educated — those opening new boutiques for modern Mexican design, and partying at the Vive Latino music festival — there is a growing civic consciousness. [...]

There are young architects here looking to tear up roads and revive ancient rivers. There are young women teaching old women how to plant tomatoes in the grass between high-rises; artists turning ocean trash into gorgeous, consumer criticism; and even a crowd-sourced multimedia campaign with visions for “Mexico of the Future” — which includes submissions such as “a solar panel on every house” and “respect for flora and fauna.”

As SmartPlanet's  reported from Mexico City, the city is seeing its best air quality in decades thanks to city policies to curb traffic, promote lower-emissions vehicles, and improve public transportation. These vertical gardens may not be able to continue to improve Mexico City's air quality all by themselves, but they do serve as a pleasant symbol of the city's pursuit of sustainability.

Lush Walls Rise to Fight a Blanket of Pollution [New York Times]

Photo: VerdMX

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Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure