In a bid to revolutionize agriculture, New York City and Bergen-based innovation studio Framlab has proposed Glasir, a community-based system for urban farming that combines the flexibility of modularity with aeroponics to vastly reduce the environmental footprint for growing food. Created in the likeness of a tree, the space-saving conceptual design grows vertically and can be installed in even the densest of urban areas. The high-yield, vertical farming proposal would be integrated with smart technology, sensors, and renewable systems such as solar panels to optimize production and minimize its carbon footprint.

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exterior of city buildings from a streetview with a tree made out of solar panels and smart technology to the left

Named after a fabled and supernatural tree in Norse mythology, Glasir was conceived by Framlab as a response to the World Health Organization’s estimates that half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas by 2025. To curb the water-guzzling and land-intensive processes of modern agriculture, Framlab developed Glasir as an alternative that would provide neighborhoods with affordable, local produce year-round. The self-regulating system comprises a monopodial trunk that is expanded with branch-like modules and would occupy only a two-by-two-foot space, about the same size needed for a small street tree on a sidewalk. 

schematics for the Glasir tree

The basic components for a Glasir system comprise ten base modules: five growth modules, three production modules, and two access modules. The modules are all interconnected and feed information to one another through an artificial intelligence program. Environmental sensors track and evaluate site conditions such as solar gain, temperature levels, and winds to optimize growth. The system can be assembled in a variety of configurations to fit the needs of the community that it serves. 

Related: Sustainable agriculture cleans up rivers in Cuba

a long red brick building with the Glasir tree in front of it to the left. the tree has expanded to be taller

In addition to the use of extremely water-efficient aeroponic growing methods, Glasir reduces its environmental impact with translucent photovoltaic cells that power its electricity needs. A rainwater collection system stores, purifies and redirects runoff for irrigation in the production modules. The exterior of the modules will also be coated in Titanium Oxide to help clean air pollutants. 

+ Framlab

Images via Framlab