Home to 8 million trees and hundreds of high-rise towers, London is adding 40,000 trees to its skyline in a bid to turn the sprawling British metropolis into a “national park city”.
Campaigners for clean air welcomed the initiative, saying London lagged mainland Europe when it came to tree cover, with high costs driving vertical development over open space.
Mayor Sadiq Khan wants to turn the tide, putting 1.5 million pounds ($1.9 million) into a woodland fund for London.
“Much-loved green spaces boost our environment and enhance our quality of life,” Khan said in a statement on Thursday.
Home to The Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe, London has transformed in recent decades amid frenetic development and overseas investment. Its once demure profile is now punctuated with eye-catching skyscrapers.
“London has some great green spaces already but most of these were established in the 19th century and what is now needed is a massive effort to create new urban parks,” said Michael Batty, a professor at University College London.
“But the cost of land means that this vision is often thwarted,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The number of high-rise buildings planned or underway in London has this year risen above 500 for the first time as a trend to build skyscrapers spreads to the suburbs.