Urban farming, including hydroponics in underground war bunkers and tunnels!

I came across this and found it interesting.  It’s from the DAFF Website.

 

Urban farming

When Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut put forward an ‘urban farm’ concept in 2009 for a development in New York called Dragonfly he was laughed at, but now his vision is being seriously considered. In the original concept, along with farming cows and orchards, the Dragonfly farm would harvest energy from the sun and wind. Hot air trapped between the building ‘wings’ would provide heating in winter. In summer, cooling would be achieved through natural ventilation and transpiration from the abundant plant growth. Plants would grow on the exterior shell of the development to filter rainwater, which would be captured and mixed with liquid waste from the towers, treated organically, and used as fertiliser. At the base of the colossus would be a floating market on the East River (New York) for the inhabitants to sell their organic produce.

Mr Callebaut now hopes to sell a design for a ‘farmscraper’ in Shenzhen, China, that will include housing, offices, leisure space and food gardens. Utilising the building’s common areas for solar panels and grey water reticulation will help in maintaining the vertical farms.

In Australia, councils are looking for more sustainable projects and since many buildings in Sydney and Melbourne now have expansive rooftop gardens, the next step is to make them productive. However, communal rooftop gardens must compete with penthouse owners who pay top dollar for exclusive use of rooftops.

If urban farms have to go somewhere other than the rooftop, alternatives exist. Two entrepreneurs in London are planning to transform World War II underground air raid shelters and tunnels into one hectare of hydroponic gardens to supply local restaurants and grocery stores with produce. Thirty metres below ground level, the temperature remains a constant 16 degrees Celsius, and LED lighting permits food production all year round.

Urban farms are an emerging sector in the agricultural landscape which, along with bringing innovative ways to combine high density urban living with food production, will raise new biosecurity challenges.

Falk T (2014) Urban farming goes underground in London. Smart Planet, 4 February 2014, accessed 6 March 2014
Johnstone T (2014) Plans for vertical farms on unit blocks take off. Sydney Morning Herald, 28 January 2014, accessed 6 March 2014

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