To fast-track development, most cities transformed greeneries into grey concrete roads and buildings. Mexico City attempts to colour the streets green once more with vertical gardens. What does this mean for us?

Via Verde

The greening project known as Via Verde was signed by the Mexican government back in 2016.  The US $15 million project installed vertical gardens on nearly 1000 pillars in a highway known as Periferico.

The result? A beautified scenery in one of the busiest roads in Mexico which supposedly doubles as a measure to mitigate smog pollution. Another benefit of Via Verde claimed by its proponents is that the installation of the gardens will produce oxygen sufficient for about 25,000 residents.

Via Verde came from the mind of Fernando Ortiz Monasterio, an architect from the firm Verde Vertical.  Recently, it caught international attention. Now, vertical garden projects are to be initiated in the roads of the United States and Central America in the coming months.

Superficial?

While Via Verde was originally claimed to be a solution to pollution, this seems to be not the case. The succulents and plants used for the Via Verde project are not among the select few species which can effectively filter out the air of the city as intended, a lot of advocates and naysayers pointed out.

To top it all off, the cost of building one vertical garden equals the cost of planting 300 trees. Needless to say, 300 trees can definitely filter out the air better than a single vertical garden.

It appears that we need to be more aggressive in mitigating air pollution. Are these vertical gardens the solution?

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Hopefully, we won’t be blinded by the beauty of these gardens that we end up overlooking the still very present problem of air pollution. Let’s not allow the colour green to wash away the sense of urgency that we need now more than ever.

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