THE CITY OF THE VERTICAL GARDENS
"A new ordinance for central business districts"
American downtowns today symbolize better than anything else the divorce between Man and Nature. They have become artificial environments where people spend part of their lives surrounded primarily by hard man made surfaces (concrete, steel, glass) and where the presence of Nature is negligible.
The horizontal garden brought Nature to the suburb (the horizontal city) but it failed to bring it to downtown (the vertical city) because of the lack of available ground surface. Now the proposed Vertical Garden Ordinance will require from every building to provide a percentage of its exterior envelope as a vegetal surface appropriate to the local climate.
Vertical Gardens will have priority on building elevations facing west, the worst orientation in terms of undesired summer solar gain, but will not be limited to it in order to achieve a richer urban image. They will provide physical and psychological comfort, purify the air, reduce indoor cooling loads and outdoor temperature through evaporation.
The garden is supported by a three dimensional metal pipe grid or permanent “scaffolding” with built-in irrigation and fire prevention system. This structure is attached to solid and glazed walls in which case enough separation will be provided to allow for balconies and outdoor decks protruding into the public aerial way, a giveaway to offset the cost of the garden as incentive for developers.
The mandatory treatment of the same orientation for all buildings will help people to orient themselves in the city and to be more aware of environmental conservation. When approached from the W, the city will seem to disappear, replaced by a topiary garden of giant geometric shapes, a metaphor of a new found harmony between Man and Nature.