A new project is underway in Mexico City. It’s called Via Verde, and it’s out to change their city for the better – one new plant at a time.
Currently, the Via Verde project is working to convert more than 1,000 freeway pillars into vertical gardens. And while the idea of making urban spaces more beautiful is nice enough on its own, there are plenty of great reasons for doing it, other than the obvious beauty: these plants can soak up pollution and smog by absorbing C02, heat, and even muting city noise. Studies have shown that visible, living foliage even relieves stress and anxiety in city residents.
And to make it all extra-worthwhile, the project is a totally sustainable one. The materials used to construct the gardens are made of all recycled plastic, just to start with. But a self-sufficient irrigation system also collects and stores rainwater to provide the majority of the necessary hydration for the plants, instead of draining the city of too much drinking water. These particular plant species were even chosen for their specific benefits in an urban setting, requiring less than average water to survive and having high resistance to the local environment.
But wait – there’s more!
In case these gardens couldn’t get any better, they’ll also be giving something back to the community. The infrastructure construction and maintenance of the project are going to be left to the local populous of inmates, helping them socially rehabilitate and gain work experience before being re-immersed into the community and job market. Men and women from The Santa Marta Acatitla Women’s Social Reintegration Center and the Oriente Men’s Preventive Detention Center will be tasked with most of the responsibilities, from checking on the health of the plants to weaving the hydroponic textile substrate – which will provide them with valuable training and the skills to find more opportunities in the future.
By the time the entire project is completed, it will have set up 2.2 million plants around Mexico City.