spaceSpace and Physics

One Day We Could All Be Living In Vertical "Forest Cities" On Mars


Katy Evans

Katy is Managing Editor at IFLScience where she oversees editorial content from News articles to Features, and even occasionally writes some.

Managing Editor

No, those are not a giant's marbles, they are forest city biomes on Mars, and possibly the future of humanity. (c) Stefano Boeri Architetti

Now that the possibility of going to Mars one day isn’t as remote as it once was, we can’t help getting a little bit excited when we see concept art for how designers, architects, and artists imagine our future colonies.

As part of an expo in China on how the future of its cities may look, an architecture company has offered up its ideas of what a Mars city could be like one day.


China-based Italian architect Stefano Boeri, founder of Stefano Boeri Architetti (SBA), in collaboration with Tongji University’s Future City Lab and the Chinese Space Agency, developed the idea of how cities on the Red Planet might appear, exhibiting it at the SUSAS 2017 art exhibition on “sharing a future public space”, that opened in Shanghai this week.  

If it looks a little familiar, it’s because it’s by the same team that designed the “Vertical Gardens” set to be built in Nanjing in 2018 to help offset city pollution, and the “Forest City” in Guangxi that will be home to 30,000 residents, due to be finished in 2020.

Concept art for the "Vertical Forest - Seeds on Mars" installation. (c) Stefano Boeri Architetti

Concerned about the future of the planet, especially large metropolises like Shanghai, Boeri imagined what the city would look like in 100 years. Boeri believes that if we don’t look after the environment, cities like Shanghai will be flooded in the next century, so he hopes this futuristic concept art will inspire people in the here and now.

In the “New Shanghai”, cities will be enveloped in giant spheres, where ecological high-rise buildings – similar to ones SBA has designed in Italy, Belgium, and China – will act as forests to create an atmosphere that will allow humans to live.

From Earth... to Mars. The "living" spheres would be transported via an interplanetary space station. (c) Stefano Boeri Architetti

The proposed idea is that we will be living in ecological communities, where buildings will be covered in plants, like the Vertical Cities, that will absorb pollutants and carbon dioxide while generating oxygen.

In fact, the very concept is called “Vertical Forest Seeds on Mars”, with the idea that real “eco-systemic seeds” would be transported from Earth to Mars by an interplanetary space station, and take root on Mars’ surface.  

Yeah, we’re not sure how that works either, but it looks great.

However, Boeri and his ideas for the Red Planet may have to get in line. What with Elon Musk's plans to colonize Mars and the United Arabic Emirates' newly announced plans for their own "Mars Scientific City", it's really going to be a case of not if, but when, and who gets there first. 


spaceSpace and Physics
  • tag
  • Mars,

  • Life on Mars,

  • forest city,

  • vertical city,

  • shanghai,

  • biospheres,

  • future city