The rapid urbanization of our global society has become an incontrovertible reality, which derives from various economic, social, and political factors. By 2025 there will be about 600 cities worldwide with population of one million people or more. The continuous urban territorial expansion, accompanied by human density increase, necessitates a continual and (many times) radical recasting in the ways urban environments are imagined, conceived, designed and finally actualized.
‘’Vancouverism’’ was among the first important architectural and urban planning strategies that advocated density and quality of life – were not mutually exclusive, on the contrary, they – could be mutually beneficial.
The term “biophilia” means “love of life or living systems.” It was first used by Erich Fromm to describe a psychological orientation of being attracted to all that is alive and vital. The biophilia hypothesis suggests that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life.
An Urban Forest project emerges initially from focusing, designing and implementing ecosystem-based approaches, nature based solutions (NBS) (green roofs, constructed wetlands for waste water treatment, e.t.c) and hybrid nature-based solutions (vertical farming, living wall systems, e.t.c) in order to cooperate with ecosystems, soothe the impacts of climate change, conserve biodiversity and improve human health and well-being (Cohen-Shacham et al., 2016). NBS can be defined as “solutions that are inspired and supported by nature, which are cost-effective, simultaneously provide environmental, social and economic benefits and help build resilience” (European Commission, 2016, p. 1). The various social and economic benefits of sustainable systemic solutions that combine technical, business, finance and governance, regulatory and social innovation have been earlier indicated and assessed by the European Commission in 2015.
The urban forest eco-heaven will origin Biophilic design, high aesthetics principles and may consist of research concepts like living and open-innovation labs, health and well-being labs, office hubs, technology and research labs, hotel infrastructures and residential urban villages, all of them incorporating axial planting, interconnected and surrounded by the imposing rainforest touch – the reference point of the concept.
This Smart and Sustainable Community Showcase has the potential of being equipped and apply a vast number of cutting-edge, environmentally oriented technologies and scientific techniques offering strategic circular economy opportunities, aiming public good and improving business performance:
Renewable Energy Recourses: Heating, Cooling, Lighting and Ventilation.
ICT: Sensing devices and sensor network.
IoT, Big Data Management and Operation Center, Digital Twin.
Food: Vertical Farming
Concluding, extensions of the Urban Forest Project could possibly lead to greener consciousness, offer new possibilities of autonomy and affect social systems, services and networks in post industrial societies.
Increasing greening within urban conurbations, link existing urban green areas and interweave green eco infrastructure between urban infrastructures. Urban Forest environments will potentially have a drastic impact to its occupants/customers: to develop the sense of responsibility and respect for nature, the generation of primitive sentiments and a step towards the reestablishment of the connection between human and nature.