Thursday, 16 February 2012

Looking To The Future: Urban Farming

The world today
As you read this the world’s population is booming. Advances in medicine and technology have meant that more of us are living longer and less people are dying. As a result the increased pressure on the planets natural resources is set to create new food and water shortages, a crisis in the provision of food and water could lead to tensions over resources, which is bad for the future prospects of humanity.

Urban areas are set to become the homes for 61% of the Earth’s population by 2030. Whilst farm land is taking up more and more of the remaining wilderness on the planet, there has to be a point where rural agriculture will not be sustainable. The challenge facing mankind is how to increase food production whilst protecting the environment.

What are urban farms?
Enter the concept of Urban Farming. Urban Farming has the potential to revolutionise the way we produce food and the way we view agriculture. Simply put urban farms will essentially be greenhouse skyscrapers growing fresh produce right in the heart of the metropolis. The potential to start a boom in sustainable green architecture as well as promote sustainability to the heart of our cities is an amazing opportunity and it is looking more and more likely that the increase in demand for organic locally sourced produce will make Urban Farming the most viable solution for city planners to solve the problem of future food provision.

The benefits
Cities are densely populated areas, space is a valuable commodity and Land prices are sky high. Urban Farming would have to be supported in vast sky scrapers in order to make the scheme financially viable. The city of the future will be filled with vertical farms. A huge benefit to this scheme is the reduction in food miles. The fresh vegetables you buy from the shop could be grown less than a mile away and therefore not need to be transported and thus reduces carbon emissions.
Having healthy numbers of vegetation in the city would also go a long way in improving air quality in our inner cities. Urban Farming is no longer a concept from science fiction, the city of Vancouver in Canada is piloting a multilevel tower which will grow and provide food for local markets. If successful the tower could potentially be as high as 30 storeys with solar panels and irrigation systems.

The world will be watching and eagerly anticipating the outcome because if the scheme works then urban farms will be set to change the skylines of all of the world’s cities. The concept of urban farming is not just limited to skyscrapers. Roof terraces, apartment blocks and potentially any flat roof space could eventually be used to benefit the environment.

The future
Urban Farming offers the opportunity to benefit the environment whilst providing a secure food source for future generations. It is a great milestone in architecture and agriculture and can potentially help feed the growing population and allow access to fresh, organic locally sourced produce which is the most beneficial to us. A healthy resource, A healthy population, A healthy planet.

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