When I saw this fascinating New York Magazine article on skyscraper farming, my first thought was of a much younger and geekier version of myself, who used to play SimCity 2000 a lot on my pc. Towards the end of the game, you’d be able to get an Arcology, that is, a self sustainable building, capable of providing food, water, and energy to the inhabitants of the complex. As I’m fond of saying, you just can’t beat reality these days.
The New York Magazine article describes the work of Dr. Dickson Despommier, a professor of environmental sciences and microbiology at Columbia University. He talks about the vertical farm concept, which we previously covered on Inhabitat, that attempts create spaces in the city where farming can occur, thus repairing the world’s damaged ecosystems currently used by this activity. Concepts like these are important, as he likes to point out, by 2050, the planet’s population will require a new farming area the size of Brazil, which couldn’t possibly be provided based on existing farmable areas, and thus the need for new areas from where to obtain food.
A concept design of a skyfarm was profiled for the article. It shows the process by which food would be grown as well as the systems required to make such a building work. In the particular showcased design, the vertical farm would use solar and wind power to obtain it’s energy, water collecting units and a black-water treatment system as well as an optional biofuel generating power plant. The design that he proposed allows for an automated system to select the crops when they are ready for picking.
With the emphasis on locally grown food, the importance of creating spaces within the city is a goal worthy of pursuing and we hope that someone decides to try one of these concepts soon.