Columbia professor Dr. Dickson Despommier is developing models for "vertical farms," swank-looking skyscrapers that produce agricultural products for urban locavores.
The idea, which has captured the imagination of several architects in the United States and Europe in the past several years, just caught the eye of another big city dreamer: Scott Stringer, the Manhattan borough president in New York.
When Stringer heard about the concept in June, he said he immediately pictured a "food farm" addition to the New York City skyline. "Obviously we don't have vast amounts of vacant land," he said in a phone interview. "But the sky is the limit in Manhattan." Stringer's office is "sketching out what it would take to pilot a vertical farm," and plans to pitch a feasibility study to the mayor's office within the next couple of months, he said.
There’s really nothing not to love about vertical farms — multi-story hydroponic operations, usually sited in dense urban areas — they borrow their best tech from the space program, they’re water-conserving, they don’t have runoff, they’re energy efficient, and they’re super land-efficient, meaning we don’t need to turn forests or wetlands into fields.
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