Nature Based Solutions - Implementation Models Database

Green walls and facades

Bosco Verticale

A short description of the NSB

Bosco Verticale is a model for a sustainable residential building, a project for metropolitan reforestation contributing to the regeneration of the environment and urban biodiversity without the implication of expanding the city upon the territory. The first example of the Bosco Verticale has been designed by Stefano Boeri Studio and realized in Milan, consisting of two residential towers of 110 and 76 m height, hosting 800 trees (each measuring 3, 6 or 9 meters), 4.500 shrubs and 15.000 plants distributed according to the sun exposure of the facade. In amount of trees, each Bosco Verticale equals an area of 20.000sqm of forest. The vegetal system of the Bosco Verticale provides several benefits: a) Biological habitats. Bosco Verticale increases biodiversity. It helps to set up an urban ecosystem where a different kind of vegetation creates a vertical environment which can also be colonized by birds and insects, and therefore becomes both a magnet for and a symbol of the spontaneous re-colonization of the city by vegetation and by animal life. b) Mitigations. Bosco Verticale helps to build a micro-climate and to filter dust particles which are present in the urban environment. The diversity of the plants helps to create humidity and absorbs CO2 and dust, produces oxygen, protects people and houses from harmful sun rays and from acoustic pollution. c) Anti-sprawl. Bosco Verticale is an anti-sprawl measure which aims to control and reduce urban expansion. If we think of them in terms of urban densification, each tower of the Bosco Verticale is equivalent to an area of urban sprawl of family houses and buildings of up to 50.000sqm. Trees are a key element in understanding architectural projects and garden systems. In this case the choice of the types of trees was made to fit their positioning on the facades and by height, and it took two years to finalize it, alongside a group of botanists. The plants used in this project will be grown specifically for this purpose and will be pre-cultivated. Over this period these plants can slowly get used to the conditions they will find on the building. d) Ecology billboards. Bosco Verticale is a landmark in the city which is able to depict new kinds of variable landscapes changing their look over seasons, depending on the types of plants involved. The Bosco Verticale will offer a changing view of the metropolitan city below. e) Management. The management of the tree pots is under building regulation, as well as the upkeep of the greenery and the number of plants for each pot. f) Irrigation. In order to understand the need for water, the plan for these buildings took into account the distribution of plants across the various floors and their positioning.

NBS Implementation context
Location Milan, Porta Nuova District (Italy)
Status (from - to) Project delivered (2009-2014)
NBS Scale Object (building)
NBS Impacts scale Object (building) Neighbourhood City
Urban density/ Soil consumption High (dense city center, etc.)
NBS Typology

NBS Uban Challenges
Climate Issues Climate mitigation
Climate adaptation
Other 0
Urban water management and quality Urban water management and quality
Flood management
Other 0
Air Quality Air quality at district/city scale
Air quality locally
Other 1
Urban Space and Biodiversity Biodiversity
Urban space design
Urban space management
Other 1
Urban Regeneration and Soil Air quality at district/city scale
Other 0
Resource efficiency Food, energy and water
Raw materials
Other 0
Public health and well-being Acustic
Quality of life
Other 0
Environmental justice and social cohesion Environmental Justice: Recognition
Environmental Justice: Procedural Justice
Environmental Justice: Distributional Justice
Environmental Justice: Capabilities
Environmental Justice: Responsibility
Social Cohesion
Other 0
Urban planning and governance Urban planning and form
Governance in planning
Other 0
People Security Control of crimes
Control of extraordinary events
Other 0
Green economy Circular economy
Bioeconomy activities
Direct economic value of NBS
Other 0
NBS Stakeholders & Governance

It was a private company initiative as a re-qualification of the Porta Nuova Area which was part of a city plan since the 50s, but due to financial shortages the Milan Municipality was not able to assess it. Buildings were designed with the goal to introduce reforestation in that area of the city using efficiently the limited space available. The Initiative is called rehabilitation plan of the Porta Nuova Neighbourhoods. The management and maintenance of the Bosco Verticale’s vegetation are centralised and entrusted to an agency with an office counter open to the public.

Initial actors (Leaders) Market Private sector (Hines Italia SGR SpA)
Involved actors Governments Local government/municipality (Milan Municipality) Semi-government organizations / institutions, Market Private sector
Ecological scale Local scale green area
Governance model CLUSTER 5: Network Governance Collaborative governance
NBS Financial aspects

Global (estimated) cost of the project > 5Mó (Above ó65.000.000)
Financing mechanism Private investors (Coima XXI, Domomedia Gruppo Milano Assicurazioni, Hines European Development Fund, TIAA-CREF (Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association - College Retirement Equities Fund)
NBS Business Models Archetype
Technological Substitute with renewables and natural processes
Social Adopt a stewardship role
Organisational Re-purpose the business for society/environment Develop scale-up solutions
NBS Success and limiting factors
Process enablers
Knowledge Generation of evidence Lesson learnt through implemented projects, Awareness Climate Change
Governance -
Economy -
Process inibitors
Knowledge Uncertainty Operational unknown Performance unknown
Governance Institutional barriers Bureaucracy and unsupportive legal frameworks
Economy Budget constraints Lack of funding knowledge
IM Keywords
  • Collaborative governance

  • Local scale green area

  • Private investors

  • Substitute with renewables and natural processes

  • Re-purpose the business for society/environment

  • Develop scale-up solutions

References Giacomello E., Valagussa M. (2015). Vertical Grenery: Evaluating the High-Rise Vegetation of the Bosco Verticale, Milan. Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat: Chicago.