When tasked with creating a synthetic urban tree for the City of Boston (or any city) that could provide all the benefits of a real tree (de-carbonization and protection) without requiring soil and water, a team from Paris rose to the challenge. Their innovative concept is called Treepods. The systems are capable of removing carbon dioxide from the air and releasing oxygen using a carbon dioxide removal process called “humidity swing."

Inspired by dragon blood trees, its wide branches and umbrella style tops support large solar panels. After some testing, they found out that the trees couldn't be powered by the sun alone so they added interactive hammocks and see-saws to the base of the tree, so that humans could help create a secondary source, through kinetic energy.

The Treepods are made entirely of recycled plastic drinking bottles and light up at night.

Of course, this all begs the question, why not just plant real trees in the city? New trees would take a long time to grow, whereas these fake trees could be up and running in no time.

Could these synthetic trees be coming to a city near you? How do you feel about them?

Shift Boston website
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  • I agree with Jason. As art, its beautiful. But they can't compare to the smell of trees, the sight of leaves falling in autumn and growing in spring, the feel of bark under your hands, the reminder of the cycle of life that I see when I look at a true tree.
  • They look interesting and they have a good purpose and all but... Why not just... You know... Plant a tree? Seems like it would be a lot less fuss and is it really that hard to find soil and water? Then if it's not somewhere, is it really that hard to put it there?
  • Looks like a sculpture but does so much more. Cool concept.
  • This is a very cool idea, I like it.
  • As an art installation I think they're quite clever. As a naturalist . . . I feel like the everlasting beauty of real trees trumps this every time.

  • Reminds me (slightly) on hallucinogenic mushrooms, but it leaves a very good impression.
    I'd like to be in such an urban forest as soon as possible :)
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