Buildings That Breathe

Greening the World's Cities

Imagine living inside a “tree scraper”.  It sounds like something from the fictional city of Wakanda, but it is real. In an effort to stem climate change, reduce pollution, combat heat, and protect biodiversity, architects are teaming up with botanists, urban wildlife ecologists, and other scientists to design high-rises forests, living walls, and vertical farms in some of the world’s most populated cities. These urban greening projects provide city residents with a healthier place to live and work.  Explore projects all around the world that are changing our urban landscapes and helping keep our planet healthy.


Lerner Books

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Nancy and Stefano Boeri at the Forum for Urban Forestry in Italy

Behind the Book:

Attending the United Nation’s Forum on Urban Forestry in Mantova (Mantua) Italy was instrumental in writing this book. I spent a week there with so many knowledgeable world leaders in urban greening, including agrobotanists, architects, urban planners, and arborists. It gave a jumpstart to this book. I met visionary architect, Stefano Boeri, while having an espresso. That chance meeting led to his invitation to visit his office in Milan. – a dream come true. Visionaries, like Boeri and others I’ve met researching my books, show us what is possible in our world and stretch our minds. This conference certainly stretched mine. But, this book didn’t originate at the conference. Like so many of my books, it began years ago. I took a class in architecture during my graduate studies and wrote a paper on the history of my childhood home. That interest only peeked when I learned about Bosco Verticale. I wanted to know more and planned on attending the UN conference even before I had written a proposal for this book. We all live in different places. A treescraper is a pretty cool place to live and is an amazing innovation for fighting climate change and pollution.

“Hopeful and information-packed, this is a positive addition to the environmental shelf.” Kirkus

“This specialized but extremely helpful resource offers realistic and inspiring solutions.” Booklist

“An exciting opportunity to engage young readers with their world and the multidisciplinary researchers working on these big, global issues.” School Library Journal