Lettuce in the sky, with diamonds

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.

Country, the city version: Farms in the sky gain new interest [ IHT, via Tim O'Reilly's twitterstream ]