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“Vertical parks”, proceeding towards sustainable development


Academic year: 2017

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ISSN 0976-2612, Online ISSN 2278–599X, Vol-7, Special Issue-Number5-July, 2016, pp1265-1272


Review Article

“Vertical parks”, proceeding towards sustainable development

Mahsa Hajifathali 1,* and Behnaz Khodadadi 2 1* Department of Architecture, Hashtgerd branch

,Islamic Azad University, Alborz, Iran 2

MA student of urban planning at Imam Khomeini international university,Iran


Increased population, horizontal constructions, urban heat island in cities and shortage of free environment on the earth are the main challenges of current urban planning in the world. Development of urban green space and Fair distribution in city center . In such a way that is appropriate to the urban construction, is one of the major challenges of the contemporary metropolis. Since green space is not of much financial value, it has been disregarded, and only few lands have been allocated for that. This has led to the shortage of open space on the earth, and the unfair division of urban usage. On the other hand, there is need to be more in touch with green space in today’s world. People gather in the green squares of cities in spite of air and sound pollution, and danger of accident for their children. Therefore, designing green space is of vital importance regarding the deficit of appropriate green space suitable for urban texture, and the costliness of lands. Various plans have been offered in providing the green space. The present study aims to introduce vertical parks as a measure for achieving the objectives of sustainable development, expanding green space, and providing and promoting public health and people’s psychical comfort with regard to shortage of lands.

Key words: green space, deficit of lands, psychical comfort, sustainable development, vertical park


In recent decades, The role of green spaces in the environment and Quality of settlements increased. Urban green space, are as respiratory lungs in the city, because of it, The lack of urban green space means there is no health and wellbeing among

citizens. open and green spaces are important and

valuable not only because of their recreational role but also because of their important role in preserving urban environment , modifying air pollution, and improving the physical and psychical state of urban inhabitants. Green space as a part of city, and an actual phenomenon is one of the first issues with which human beings have always had contact, and will continue to do so[1].

Increased population the development of

urbanization have distanced humans from nature. Dense population, interference with nature, and

human-made constructions reflect the physical and psychical needs of people more and more. In an attempt to meet these needs, humans have tried to construct gardens and artificial green spaces in cities [2]. Green space is one of the most important usage in current cities. It is one of the

factors in achieving sustainable urban


1. What is the effect of vertical parks on human’s psychical health?

2. What is the role of vertical parks in achieving the objectives of sustainable development.


This study is analytical-descriptive. Theoretically, it is based on documentary data collection using books, articles, and journals on green spaces planning and sustainable urban development.

3. CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION 3.1. Literature Review

An example of prior vertical parks is Babel suspended gardens which are one of the seven wonders of the world. Babel is the first city in the history of human being. It was famous for its three main constructions which were very important for the professionals of the time. These three constructions included Babel tower, huge walls and Samiramis suspended garden [4].

The constructions were probably under the order of the second Bakhtonnasr about 600 years BC [5]. The garden was steeped like a combe, and its different parts were superposed like floors. The general view was like a suspended garden. When the rising plates were constructed like steps, halls were constructed underneath, and some trees were planted on and under them where they grew in a superposed shape. The roofs of the hall were preserved by stone girders of 16 feet length. First, the roofs on the beams were covered by layers of straw the middle of which was filled with a large amount of tar. Then the roof was bricked.

The space among bricks was filled with lime. The third level was lead and then soil. All this was done to prevent water from penetrating through the roofs. In the lower level, the ground was dug large enough to let various huge trees grow. All halls had enough light; so various royal places with plenty of drawings were constructed in them. An opening was created in one of the halls in which some equipment was positioned in order to provide the whole garden with the river water [5].

Fig (1) assumed pictures of Babel suspended gardens ,source:[6].

The idea began since Babel suspended gardens were constructed. Nowadays, it is the focus of attention in many developed countries due to the above-mentioned reasons. A good example is the vertical parks in Mexico.

It is difficult to find green space in Mexico City. The big population of 22 million people has deteriorated the problem. Many planners and architects are thus trying to find a fundamental

solution for that. Regarding the closed

environments, and the forced limitations caused by the constructed environments, they are attempting to make the utmost use of all urban capacity, and to provide the needed urban green space. The new plan has a structure consisting of high vertical parks that consume solar power. The environment has a space for work and living. Moreover, the consumed energy and water possess the capacity of recyclability [7]

Fig (2) vertical park,Source:[6].


vertical parks are introduced in a table. Finally, the necessity of green space in cities and its effect on human health are investigated.

3.2. definition of green space

In comprehensive definition , Green space is a part of free urban environments which in natural or artificial context , it is under the establishment of trees , flowers , grass and other different plants that it is constructed and preserved according to human management with the consideration of laws and related professions for improving the biologic , habitat and comfort terms of citizens and urban population centers[8].

3.3. the kinds of green space

table(1)series of parks according to function As you see on the above table, vertical park is a part of wide green space and it occupies in the

Fig (3)vertical park in singapore[16]

3.4. Definition of vertical park

Human being is a social creature, and he is in need of socialization with other people. The main duty of government is creating a secure and desirable space for social interactions (plaza). The aim of vertical parks is creating pleasant, safe, and dynamic spaces for citizens in which they engage in their daily activities. The idea which was proposed by Xorkhe Hernandez, consists of a series of architectural ideas. Actually, the main idea of this project is to provide the needed urban green space by making the utmost use of the capacity of cities while considering the closed spaces and the limitations imposed by constructed spaces. The system makes use of solar power and consists of high vertical gardens. It also includes places for work and living. All consumed energies and water are recyclable. Vertical park is an innovative and futuristic idea which would meet many individual and social needs of human being.

3.5. Introducing vertical parks as appropriate space for current cities

Due to specific condition of urban life and the related problems, various plans have been presented in recent years in an attempt to provide the needed green space one of which is vertical parks. There are three main reasons for creating vertical parks:

Land shortage: one of the reasons of emphasizing vertical parks in many countries is the overcrowded urban environment especially in its central contexts. According to predictions, more than 80 percent of earth inhabitants will be living in cities by 2050. This will lead to an increase in land value. Urban environments, on the other hand, have limitation in horizontal development, which signifies the necessity of vertical green spaces. An important purpose of this plan is to compensate for the land shortage in megacities. The present study is the result of the contrast between two main issues in social life:


2. shortage of urban lands to be allocated to parks. human who live in cities need nature , also

suitable landscape and decreasing of air pollution and also review in using energy and necessity of best use of energy are the main issues in urban management .Development of vertical green spaces means construction of green level in the buildings of the cities and it consists of green roof and green walls. When we use these green spaces in urban environment as a green walls, the walls become cooler and exchange of energy between inner and outer spaces of building become fewer. Also it causes the assimilation of sun radiation by plants which it affects on the balance of temperature. From an ecological point of view, if we can connect green levels together in the city, we can increase the ecological resistant in the city and it affects on the decreasing of tempreture, controlling the air pollution and other thing. Making beauty: one of the important reasons is the visual beauties which can affect on the inhabitants of these environment and increase the life's quality and work's efficiency.

Decreasing cultivated gases: increasing the population of plants cause assimilation of urban pollution and decreasing environment tempreture. Also vertical green spaces use for environment beauty, decreasing environment pollution, saving energy , controlling torrent raining , providing food and preserving variety of urban habitats.

3.6. The Relationship Among Human, Nature, And TheEcohouses

The ecohouses appeared in 1970s and in the midst of energy crisis. Though it didn’t gain much popularity in the beginning, the idea of such structures is of considerable popularity all over the world.

The idea emerged in an attempt to solve natural problems, maintain energy resources, and to overcome the alienation of modern man with nature.

The ecohome has introduced new terminology for describing the new trend of development namely

sustainable architecture, bioclimatic designing, and smart house.

The idea is so widespread that nowadays observing ecological criteria exerts a fundamental role in determining the laureates of prestigious architectural festivals. Theoretically, the ecohouse combines urban achievements with the advantages of natural environment.

It aims to bring today’s life as close to the natural environment as possible while preventing from nature manipulation. Human being is actually a harmonious and natural part of earth. The idea is followed in vertical parks as well. Table 1 presents the commonalities between ecohouses and vertical parks[7]

As you saw in the table, in designing the vertical parks, we consider the natural issues, kind of territory, use of new and clean energy and minimum waste of energy.

3.7. The role of green space in human life

Humans need a sustainable environment for natural, psychic and physical development. They can gain welfare by having harmony and contact

with nature. Today, however, man-made

mechanical life has imprisoned human soul and body, and most psychological pressures and disorders are caused by the lack of harmony and contact with nature.

Therefore, some harmony should exist between nature and technology. Conducting parks and planting trees in cities are of substantial value for people with no access to recreational centers outside cities.

Park trees compensate for many of the human’s psychological needs having greatly been limited by urbanization. Parks are considered as the symbol of hygiene and health, and are in fact the vital focus of cities.


Correctly planning of green spaces has a great impact on human’s psychical and physical health [9]. Scientists believe that green spaces would lead to relaxation, rejuvenation, and a decrease in harshness. In addition to social and physiological advantages, urban nature can provide city leaders and citizens with economic advantages. For instance, the filtering function of trees can result in a reduction of air pollution and its cost. Moreover, aesthetic, historical, and recreational values of parks leads to an increase in attraction places of cities, tourism, and income [10]. It has been shown that some trees create a state of relaxation by producing a substance called phistonid. Therefore, green spaces exert an important role in creating neural balance in human beings (Health and Psychic Journal). Urban green spaces have been proven to significantly decrease ambient air temperature and mitigate heat islands

created by urbanization. However, the

environmental benefits of cooling provided by urban green spaces have rarely been measured. Studies in western countries have mainly focused on the treeshading effects which provide cooling energy at the local scale in low-density residential neighborhoods. Oliveira et al[11].

3.8. Sustainable urban development

Definition of sustainable development in a session in Rio: a development which meets the current needs of human being – without endangering future generation – while taking the environmental and the future generation into consideration. Sustainable development means

returning to nature after 100 years of

industrialization, business, and urbanism, as an

indicator of national progress. Therefore,

sustainable development is a combination of two terms (development and sustainability) with two different aspects in one unified symbol, i.e. economical-industrial progress and quality of

environment in which the concept of

sustainability is dependent upon society [12].

3.9. Sustainable cities

The theoretical principles of planning sustainable cities are based on land preservation, patterns of sustainable urban development,

Table(3) Importance of green spaces on human life

Vertical parks Smart house Main feature of the ecohouse

In locating and constructing vertical parks, like ecohouses, sunrise, sunset, landscape and other natural factors are considered.

Houses are located as “correctly” as possible; that is natural factors like sunrise, sunset, etc are taken into account.

Natural sorrounding

In designing vertical parks, like ecohouses, solar energy is used for producing electricity, and water is recycled.

Using low energy tools and engineering systems

Effective exploitation of energy

In constructing these parks, renewable energies, and energy consumption reducing systems are employed.

Reduction in fossil fuel use by consuming new energies

Minimum energy waste

In vertical parks, designing green spaces and species of plants are totally in accordance with territory.

The materials used in constructing these houses are non-toxicant, recyclable, and in accordance with the territory.

Use of ecology and materials suitable for the territory


efficacious foundation, changing shapes of buildings, growth control, saving building energy, moderate density, change in utility, preserving culture, tradition, and values. Using domestic materials and arts, pedestrian-oriented designing, using bicycles, efficient use of lands, new use of ancient constructions, revitalizing damaged lands, avoiding vulnerable places such as ravine erosion, slide, and fault, durability of buildings, and considering a network of regional and quarter green spaces. The theory represents combination of naturalism, sustainable development and culturalism with fortification based on strong structures. Economy of a sustainable city should be based on creating jobs. Sustainable industry and business with no undesirable effect on nature.

Therefore, minimum pollution and low

consumption of energyare the principles of sustainable cities. City leaders consider city as a whole so that the shape of city overlaps with nature and the biosphere. As a result, the efficient size of city is based on the balance among the

3.10. Principles of sustainable cities

according to Vale Many sets of principles have been proposed for sustainable architecture with the aim of minimizing environmental impact. Most such statements recommend conservation of energy resources, consideration of local place

characteristics, and conformity with the

surrounding community. One of the simplest and most straightforward frameworks for sustainable architecture has been proposed by Vale and Vale (1991). They set forth six principles complete with extensive examples of European, British, and

American building designs. These principles are reproduced here with brief definitions:

1. Conserving Energy: A building should be

constructed in such a way that it is minimally dependent on fossil fuels.

2. Working with Climate: A building should be

designed such that it works with climate and natural energy resources to achieve comfort inside.

3 Minimizing New Resources: A building should be so designed that its construction

would require minimal use of new resources and that once its useful life comes to an end, it

can form the materials for other architecture. 4 Respect for Users: Sustainable architecture

recognizes the importance of all the people (both workers and users) associated with a building and takes account of their needs. 5 Respect for Site: A building should leave its

development site unharmed and unaltered. 6 Holism: All the aforementioned principles

should be embodied in a building in a holistic fashion

3.11. Green space and its role in sustainable development of environment

Human being is a set of the mutual relationship of man with its surrounding environment which leads

to biological balance. Maintaining this

relationship and the impressibility of ecosystem characteristics has great impact on the quality of human life and their psychological health. The discussion of urban green space and its effect on the sustainability of cities implies the importance of the type of green space especially in

1. environmental

- refining water and air - urban beautification - decreasing effects of wind - micro climate resistance - decreasing sound pollution - preventing from erosion

Good quality of life Sustainable urban development Sustainable development 2. economical

-decreasing energy consumption in buildings

-decreasing dust and pollution elimination costs

- decreasing costs of constructing spate conductance systems

3.social, psychical, and psychological


unsustainable and imbalanced cities in today’s life. The following table is a model of the effect of urban green spaces in the sustainability of cities, and in sustainable development. The table indicates that distribution of urban green spaces should provide the optimal and required ecological efficiency (environmental, economical, social, psychical, and psychological) for citizens and the cities. Construction of urban parks should be investigated extensively due to their impact on the quality of urban life and the achievement of sustainable development on the one hand, and due to the non-returnable expenses it imposes on municipalities on the other.

Urban park locations deserve wide analysis according to their unique effects on quality of life in urban areas and from other side due to their cost effectiveness.


As seen in the table, while maintaining the greenness and increasing the per capita green space in today’s over-crowded and polluted cities, vertical parks provide new spaces by taking the principles of sustainable development into account. The advantages of theses parks include: preserving the environment, minimizing possible environmental harms, maintaining human-nature relationship, using clean and new energies, using natural and recyclable energy sources, minimizing energy waste, providing a relaxed and dynamic space for citizens, etc. The construction of the parks is an effective step for the realization of the aims of sustainable development. Today’s over-crowded cities sometimes face injustice in the division of urban

lands. Various measures have been taken in an attempt to achieve moderation in per capita land use especially with regard to urban green space. One of these measures is that of vertical parks. An important reason for constructing these parks in many countries especially in densely populated central parts is the shortage of lands. One advantage of these parks is that they consume new recyclable energies. Taking the principles of

sustainable development into account, and with the aim of uniting human and nature, vertical parks provide citizens with the most relaxing and beautiful spaces which have the least harm to the ecological environment.


1. Bunnes. (1999). inhabitant perception of urban

green areas in the city of Rome.

2. Saeid nia, A. (2004). Municipal Green Book." Municipal Authority of the country 11 P: 10.

3. Meshkini, A. Mohsen, R. Mohamadpour, s.

and Akbarpour,M .(2009). Evaluation and analysis of urban land use with an emphasis on urban green space in Golestan. Geography and Regional Development 15, P:1.

4. Azizi, H, and Ebrahimi,s.(2003). Park Urban."

Correction and Rehabilitation (29): 16.

5. /http://www.Wikipedia.com 1393

6. http://arktourism.ir/1394

7. Kian,A .(2009). vertical park, stackable solar

skyscraper f Mexico City,


8. Landscapeha.blogfa. com

9. Shiri, A. (2006). Optimum model for urban

green space site selection using GIS ,the case:city of zanjan. University of Zanjan, P: 32.

10.Chiesura. (2004). the role of urban parks for

the sustainable city. Landuse and urban planning, p:129.

11.Gao, Ji-xi & Zhang, B. (2014). The cooling effect of urban green spaces as a contribution to energy-saving and emission-reduction: A case study in Beijing, China, Elsevier, p:

37-43, journal homepage:


12.Abbas zadeh, H.(2005). Environment and

Sustainable Development, Payam 445 :4

13.Ziari, k.(1380). Sustainable development and

responsible urban planners in the twenty-first

century, Tehran University Faculty of


14.Meshkini, A. Mohsen, R. Mohamadpour, s. and Akbarpour,M .(2009). Evaluation and analysis of urban land use with an emphasis on urban green space in Golestan. Geography and Regional Development 15, P:1.

15.Azizi, H, and Ebrahimi,s.(2003). Park Urban."

Correction and Rehabilitation (29): 16.

16. https://www.parkroyalhotels.com

17.Akbari H, Pomerantz M, Taha H, (2001). Cool

Surfaces and ShadeTrees to Reduce Energy Use and Improve Air Quality in Urban Areas. Solar Energy, 70(3): p. 295–310.

18.Santamouris M (2001). Energy and Climate in

the Urban Built Environment. London. James & James Publication.

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Requirements of Honeylocust

(Gleditsiatriacanthos f. inermis) in the Urban Forest. USDA Forest Service Research Paper. NE-487.

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J,Winnett, (Editors) (1992). Cooling our Communities: a Guidebook on Tree Planting and Light-Colored Surfacing. United States

Environmental Protection Agency,

Washington, D.C.

Principles of sustainable development

according to Valve Vertical parks

Economizing energy Constructing vertical parks is based on the use of clean and recyclable energies (minimum waste of energy)

Working with air and water Vertical parks use natural sources of energy, and air circulation in it is designed optimally (use of new energies)

Minimizing new resources

Use of new energy sources is minimized in the construction of vertical parks, and the materials used are supposed to be reused in other constructions (recyclable


Respecting the members Vertical parks care for all people equally (the relationship between human and nature)

Respecting the space

Vertical parks do no harm to the space; that is, locating and constructing vertical parks should exert the least harm to

the environment (maintaining the environment)


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