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April 04, 2007

« The Singles Map | Main | New Regional Population Estimates »

Skyfarming070409_6_560_2 Pretty interesting story in New York Magazine by Lisa Chamberlain about Dr. Dickson Despommier, a professor of environmental sciences and microbiology at Columbia University. Dr. Despommier argues that the answer to the growing food needs of rising urban populations is skyscrapers that house/grow agricultural products instead of businesses and people.

The article is full of great images and information about this idea and the technology behind it. From the piece,

"Urban farming has always been a slightly quixotic endeavor. From the small animal farm that was perched on the roof of the Upper West Side’s Ansonia apartment building in the early 1900s (fresh eggs delivered by bellhop!) to community gardens threatened by real-estate development, the dream of preserving a little of the country in the city is a utopian one. But nobody has ever dreamed as big as Dr. Dickson Despommier, a professor of environmental sciences and microbiology at Columbia University, who believes that “vertical farm” skyscrapers could help fight global warming.

Imagine a cluster of 30-story towers on Governors Island or in Hudson Yards producing fruit, vegetables, and grains while also generating clean energy and purifying wastewater. Roughly 150 such buildings, Despommier estimates, could feed the entire city of New York for a year. Using current green building systems, a vertical farm could be self-sustaining and even produce a net output of clean water and energy.                                

Despommier began developing the vertical-farming concept six years ago (his research can be found at verticalfarm .com), and he has been contacted by scientists and venture capitalists from the Netherlands to Dubai who are interested in establishing a Center for Urban Sustainable Agriculture, either independently or within Columbia. He estimates it could take a working group of agricultural economists, architects, engineers, agronomists, and urban planners five to ten years to figure out how to marry high-tech agricultural practices with the latest sustainable building technology."

Check out the professor's website.

Posted by David



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This is so cool. Thanks for posting, David.

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