Vertical Farms That Could Actually Get Built

In recent years, a number of vertical farm ideas have been batted around. Many seem to involve putting complex hydro- or aeroponic systems into skyscrapers or other massive buildings in pricey downtown areas. However, ArchDaily recently featured a sensible vertical farming design by Tim Stephens, a New Zealand-based architect. In the midst of populated areas, urban residents could cultivate their own food in buildings that offer individualized plots set into compact terraces. The farms includes winding paths that provide a “sense of adventure and discovery;” the idea is that residents will bump into each other while tending to their plots, increasing social interaction.

Stephen’s Urban Farm project includes a set of plots that can be configured based on the needs of individual farmers and families. These plots can be assigned by community groups. Stephens told ArchDaily: “In providing these farming plots for the community to use, the precinct will become a hub for social activity and interaction, something sorely missing in many existing communities.” With increased population growth expected for the world’s urban areas, Stephens believes food production will need to be localized.

In another example of a vertical farm concept that could become reality, Metropolis magazine’s POV  blog noted that Weber Thompson’s latest vertical farm concept was presented to city officials and business people in Newark, New Jersey, to relatively positive reviews. ” This is probably because, unlike previous vertical-farm designs, Weber Thompson’s sane, grey, industrial-style facility looks like it can actually be built.” POV also describes some of the other more utopian vertical farming concepts that have been created in the near past.

Learn more about vertical farming through an ASLA interview with Columbia University Professor Dickson Despommier, who has been leading the charge for these types of buildings. Also, check out Despommier’s new book, “The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st Century.”   

Image credits: (1) Tim Stephens / ArchDaily, (2) Tim Stephens / ArchDaily, (3) Weber Thompson / Metropolis POV blog

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