Smart Forest City Cancún - An Intelligent and Self-Sustainable City-Lung

Mexico Sep 29, 2020

At a global level, cities generate 70% of carbon emissions, that, along with other greenhouse gases, are the principle cause of climate change. Rain forests and trees absorb around 40% of these emissions, but each year they lose millions of hectares, either through human intervention or natural events.

For many years, lack of urban planning, little regulation for touristic development, and the agricultural and ranching exploitation of the area of Quintana Roo, Mexico have caused the deforestation of considerable expanses of mangrove forests. From the idea of an urban space that instead of necessitating deforestation in order to be constructed and that would return vegetation to the land and maintain an environmental equilibrium, arose an urban rain forest project in the city of Cancún. The design of the space is based upon principles of urban forestry.

A New City Concept

Cities can stop being part of the problem by becoming a key piece in the efforts against climate change. Urban forestry seeks to raise the number of trees and rain forests inside the very city environment in order to absorb the CO2 in the same place in which it is emitted.

Smart Forest City, More than a Sustainable City

The Italian architect and urbanist Stefano Boeri is in charge of the Smart Forrest City project in Cancún. The firm Stefano Boeri Architetti is well-known for sustainable architecture and since 1993 has developed projects of regeneration in complex environments throughout the world, allowing vegetation to become an essential part of architecture involved. Boeri is known for the creation of the Vertical Forest: sustainable residential buildings with facades covered in trees and plants, whose principal objective  is to concentrate the equivalent of thousands of square meters of forest in just a handful of square meters of urban space.

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Smart Forest City follows the same concept of sustainability and the integration of nature in architecture, but this time in a space of 557 hectares, 362 of which will be designated for the placing of 120,000 plants of diverse species, for which facades and roofs will be utilized.

The forest city is designed to be completely self-sustainable. It will include a perimeter ring of solar panels for the generation of electricity. But not only this, the Smart City will also include technology that will alert its inhabitants about when the best times of the day for greater use of electricity, in order to maximize cost savings.


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The city also seeks to have a circular economy for water usage. It will have a subterranean canal that will be connected to the sea as well as a water desalinization system. The water will be distributed by way of navigable canals throughout the city to be utilized as part of an irrigation system.

Inside the forest city, in which will live approximately 130,000 people, the construction of a campus of technological innovation towards the well-being of the environment is planned. It will also have centers of research and development that will host university students from all over the world, where they will tackle such topics as the restoration of coral reefs, precision agriculture, bio-healthcare, mobility and robotics, and more.

A City for Everyone

The project was conceived to be an open and international city. With the goal of enriching cultural diversity in centers of research, it pursues the concept of “globality” and “creolization” by Édouard Glissant, one of the greatest thinkers of modern time, in which one does not belong to homelands, but places - where diverse cultures, languages, and visions of the world continuously intertwine, and become the motor of development.

Smart Forest City Cancún is an urban ecosystem that seeks to bring about a change in the mentality of how one today lives, produces, and consumes, fostering education and the development of eco-efficient solutions - to be a self-sustaining city that offers health and quality of life for its inhabitants.

Photo by Christian Lambert on Unsplash


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