Sorry, but we won’t be able to forest skyscrapers with trees in the future

Trees on towersNo vision for the future is complete without city skyscrapers graced with lush, green vegetation.

Despite the many, many renderings of big buildings covered in trees, is there any concrete evidence that these dizzy hopes for green architecture will come about?

After all, it’s not easy being green on the 60th floor of tower.

Popular Science picked up on the trend in environmental researcher-turned-journalist Tim de Chant’s blog.

Frustrated by how architects and designers have suddenly gone canopy-crazy in their renderings, de Chant points out that trees don’t actually thrive when growing on top of high-rises or clinging to the sides of skyscrapers.

In short, it’s because “life sucks up there.” There’s a reason why the higher points of mountains don’t exactly see lush vegetation. And at the ambitious elevations proposed for the buildings of the future, temperatures can hit either extreme. Trees also get lashed by rain, wind and sleet, which all fall at a greater velocity the higher the height.

Logistically, de Chant thinks the tall, lovely trees proposed for tower tops are unrealistic as they’d need people to be water, maintain and prune them in order to flourish.

Plus all that work could go into something a bit easier and just as worthwhile, such as “preserving places that already have trees growing on them or planting more on streets that need them.” But that idea must seem much less novel when dreaming up the towers of tomorrow.

Singapore skyscraper trees