Sustaining Future

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Food production in Cities

I have pointed out the lack of sun light deep inside a high rise building is one of the major problems with the concept of vertical farms.

Adam Stein, in Corn on the 8th floor, turnips on level 23… pointed out correctly another important limitation of such a development - the prices of real estates in cities are high. In his words,"[t]here’s a reason that farms and factories decamped to more suitable locations."

But is this concept totally without its merit?

This is a photograph of public housing in Hong Kong [photo by Michael Wolf]



Can you see the two white vertical walls on either side of the photograph? Depending on direction, this wall is constantly exposed to sunlight, the main requirement for capturing the sun's energy for growing. Assisted by the existing wall, the scaffolding needed to farm vertically will be very significantly reduced. If vegetables are grown, for example using hanging grow beds, they can be locally distributed economically.

Instead of a large high building as a vertical farm, what about a high hydroponic system attached to an existing tall building?

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