13 May 2009

More Vertical Farms

Cities have always been at the mercy of the countryside for food and raw materials. But what if cities could grow their own food, their own livestock, their own biomass, fuels, and fibres? Such a city-state might be a bit more sustainable through times of scarcity.
The City of Vancouver has ambitious plans to become the most sustainable city in the world. This spring they held the FormShift Vancouver Competition to develop and improve the city’s livability through greener, denser developments. The Harvest Green Tower received an honorable mention in the Primary category for a mixed use primary (arterial) site along a major Vancouver street that includes a rapid transit station. Their vertical farm concept is centered around sustainable food production as well as the creation of a multi-purpose space that can house, transport, feed and entertain people.

The tower consists of interlocking tubes that grow various fruits and vegetables, house chickens and contain an aquaponic fish farm. On top of the vertical growing tower is a rainwater cistern to collect and help water all the plants and animals. At the base of the tower is a livestock grazing plain, as well as a bird habitat and boutique sheep and goat dairy facility. Underneath that is a grocery store, farmer’s market and Harvest Tower Restaurant. Renewable energy is produced from rooftop mounted wind turbines and photovoltaic glazing on the building with the additional help of geothermal heat pumps and methane generation from composting. _ImpactLab

Eventually, a design team along with an innovative builder will get it right. Crops need sun, water, and nutrients to grow optimally. They must be protected from frost and other harsh conditions. But given the proper environment, even high latitude cities should be able to grow abundant crops year round. Energy costs will be higher than on a rural farm, but transportation and storage costs should be less.

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Blogger neil craig said...

Pre-Conquistador Tnechtotlan (Mexico City) had a population of about 200,000, larger than any Etropean city of the time, & provided most of its own food by what amounts to primitive hydropomic farming - artificial strips of land in its lake built of bottom sediment & bio waste.

Bangladesh also produces a lot of food on "floating islands" (they have a lot of water & need a lot of food).
I think there is potential for floating islands, using modern technology for any city or indeed small community withopen fresh water & that this would be much cheaper & possibly more productive than vertical farms.

Thursday, 14 May, 2009  
Blogger al fin said...

Interesting. The Babylonian "hanging gardens" may have been another early example of high rise agriculture.

Ancient sieges of walled cities depended upon the trapped population running out of food and water. More modern sieges might involve other ways of restricting supply of cities with necessities.

Of course as large as many cities are, the largest part of them would be indefensible. Those people will need workable "bugout" plans with feasible escape routes to more survivable locations.

Thursday, 14 May, 2009  
Blogger Snake Oil Baron said...

Maybe they could tunnel downwards and use small nuclear generators to power lights for agriculture. They could save power on other lighting by evolving into mole men.

Or they could just develop robot lawnmowers with powerful death rays attached. Most of the time they quietly tend to yard work but when the Huns come a calling they mobilize into an army of death.

Thursday, 14 May, 2009  

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