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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sky Farms and Green Roofs

2009 has been full of stories about sky farms and green roofs. While this blog focuses on green roofs, the concept of sky farms is very intriguing.

Inhabitat.com, treehugger.com, and verticalfarm.com have all been bringing new information to the scene about this growing concept.

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If one considers a city, it inhabitants, food requirements and the logistics to meet those needs, it becomes clear that urban farming can be an efficient way to both feed a growing populace and reduce environmental impact.

In three previous posts, "Food in the City," "New York's Dragonfly Concept," and "Dubai's Food City," I have explored different takes on urban farming. What I have found is that sustainable food production is possible, though start up costs are quite high.

What strikes me about the urban farming concept is the synthesis of green roofs, green walls, grey water purification systems, as well as the use of solar and wind power. This synthesis of existing technologies produces a product greater than the sum of its parts.

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One question that hasn't been answered is whether the urban farms should be open to environment or walled. With the inherent pollution of a city, it would seem the open farms would naturally concentrate the pollution in the vegetation. However, a hybrid approach, using large green roofs would help to reduce both the air pollution as well as filter the rain water.

As the urban farming concept continues to grow in cities such as Las Vegas, Vancouver, and Toronto, credit has to be given to Dr. Dickson Despommier, Ph.D., one of the leading scientists in the field.

As global urban population grows, the need to feed the population becomes more urgent. While green roofs can help reduce some of the problems of increased urban populations, urban farms can not only meet food needs, but also reduce the stress on existing farm lands.

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