Manhattan envisages skyscraper farms

June 21, 2007 at 12:37 am Leave a comment

The BBC reports that scientists at Columbia University have devised a plan for interior skyscraper farms for New Yorkers.

Columbia University Professor Dickson Despommier and his students took existing greenhouse technology as a starting point and are now convinced that vertical farms within city skyscrapers are a practical suggestion.

In their design, energy is generated from a giant solar panel, with incinerators which use the farm’s waste products for fuel. All the water in the entire system is recycled, and the plan’s whole complex sustainable.

This project parallels the fresh foods from urban wastes pilot project currently being undertaken by Central Queensland University, led by Professor David Midmore.
Columbia University’s Professor Despommier told the BBC that advantages of this CBD agriculture include year-round crop production in a controlled environment; minimal exposure to pests (and therefore organic produce); elimination of dangerous agricultural runoff into river systems; and zero food miles, as produce would be conusmed locally.

This is a practical way to address climate change, the report says. The BBC’s Jeremy Cooke reports of a design that incorporates:

a 30-storey building with glass walls, topped off with a huge solar panel. On each floor there would be giant planting beds, indoor fields in effect. There would be a sophisticated irrigation system.

Even if it’s not quite natural…you’re going to get back the rest of the earth

Professor Dickson Despommier

And so crops of all kinds and small livestock could all be grown in a controlled environment in the most urban of settings.

That means there would be no shipping costs, and no pollution caused by moving produce around the country.

The report says these types of city farms would free up cleared farmland to be reforested.

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Entry filed under: climate change, food from the roof, urban food production.

A beautiful way to fight climate change

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