Singapore to unveil world's first 'mechanical forest'

Are massive power-generating supertrees the way of the future?

On June 29th, officials in Singapore will open to the public the world´s first mechanical forest. Located in in the Bay South garden, the one-of-a-kind park showcases a total of 18 man-made "supertrees," massive structures towering as a high as 50 meters over the ocean bay.

In a way, the Gardens by the Bay project can easily be viewed as an indictment on the current state of humanity. The notion of an artificial forest feels like a sad commentary on how far removed from nature our societies have become. In actuality though, the 250-acre landscaping project may serve as a glimpse of exactly the kind of intervention that´s needed for people and the environment to not only co-exist, but also thrive.

For instance, there´s a conservatory complex that houses a temperature-controlled flower dome and a replicated cloud forest. Numerous Horticultural Themed Gardens offer visitors an education on the relationship between humans and nature. The entire city itself was created to demonstrate how people can subsist by blending an urban environment within a natural setting.

The supertrees themselves are the culmination of science´s most promising sustainable ideas. They act as vertical gardens, as well as a massive solar power generator. Meanwhile, the design allows the structures to work as air vents for local conservatories. The trees can even be used to collect rainwater.

Electricity is generated by a built-in solar photovoltaic system that converts energy from sunlight during the day hours. This is used to power lights and support water technology systems. But within the steel framework of each tree is a vibrant Eco-system of various plant species, ranging from tropical flowers to ferns.

With it´s scope, the park was undoubtedly designed as a premier destination for eco-tourists. Lee Kuan Yew, the country´s former prime minister who´s also considered the architect of Singapore, has called the project "the pride of Singapore" in that it will show the world "what we can do to bring the world of plants to all Singaporeans."

(via CNN)

Photos courtesy of Gardens by the Bay

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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