Wednesday, 25 February 2009

A Farm in the City?

As the city of New York takes a step towards accepting the age-old tradition of city bee-keeping, we started to ask ourselves whether our fundamental need for farm produce will eventually mean that every skyscraper in every city will also have its very own roof-top farm.

A little while ago the Evolvo Skyscraper Competition highlighted an advanced version of this concept. Eric Vergne, one of three finalists, created an unusual biomorphic building designed to be a hi-tech vertical farm to fulfill the needs of future New York City residents. With official assessments stressing that 80% of the world’s population will be living in urban centers by 2050, vertical farms like Eric’s are an important part of the plan to help feed people in a sustainable manner.

Historically, we know that in times of dire need (during both World Wars for instance), some European citizens were able to successfully grow a variety of products from small allotments within their city boundaries, and in Stockholm this ‘rooftop allotment’ concept continues till this day. As a result, some of the most advanced concepts are still developed in that city.

There are companies now that can offer new, sophisticated designs in which watering and fertilizing are done automatically and huge conversion projects can be completed without stress or damage to the building or the people living in it. There are even people who can help turn your indoor spaces into veritable gardens of Eden.

Of course the idea of ‘Living Roofs’, ‘Sky Gardens’ and ‘Rooftop Farms” are not new and in time they will be an accepted part of our everyday life. One day, whilst walking through your city, you will find it natural to look up and see someone enjoying a little break from their busy schedule in a mini farm on top of their building, away from the traffic, surrounded by fruit, flowers and bees.

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