Future Cities will be solar powered and vertically farmed. By 2025, we will see several major cities around the world converting to solar power. In fact AT&T has just partnered with portable solar power systems developer Goal Zero and Brooklyn design studio Pensa for the roll out of Street Charge public solar charging stations in New York. Advancements in batteries, solar cells, solar glass and solar paint will allow city planners and developers to collect and harness the power of our Sun. These future solar powered cities will also be vertically farmed.
The Vertical Farm
[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”B0055X6F1A” locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51AV0lE3yiL._SL160_.jpg” width=”109″]Future cities will contain solar powered vertically farmed skyscrapers filled with fresh nutritious organic produce. Each neighborhood will have a vertical farm allowing these urban areas to be energy and nutrient independent. Vertical farming will allow each community in an urban area to choose what it needs to grow and could decrease waste by implementing data driven production and distribution. After several months of data, the systems will adjust the types and amounts of produce to produced. This deep farming data will allow communities to grow only what they need. This type of farming will change the way food is grown.
Vertical farming methods in urban areas could also increase ecological awareness in the youth of these cities. Many children in urban areas have never visited a farm. These children have no idea what it takes to grow food and how much energy, water and time are used in farming. These vertical farms could serve as community educational centers as well as work communes for people that can not afford these fruits and vegetables. Alternatively, if society progresses and evolves into an empathy driven culture we could see these vertical farms become “free food zones” allowing anyone within the community to get all the food they need. I know “free” is a hard concept to accept but try to keep in mind that future automation could allow this free concept to exist if the hand of greed and oppression are kept at bay.
[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0393078124″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51SoWOqSrVL._SL160_.jpg” width=”106″]Could vertical farming solve the world’s hunger problem? Imagine building a twenty five story solar powered vertical farm the heart of the desert. With advancements in building materials, water collection technologies that draw water directly out of the desert air and water filtration we could see a closed loop system that are automated and self contained.
Developing sustainable farming practices within urban areas that will become more intolerant to farming due to climate change will become a necessity in the near future. We will need to use controlled environmental systems like vertical farms to grow fruits and vegetables that are not native to local climate. Why ship strawberries from Norway to the desert or cities when we could grow them on the 15th floor of a local vertical farm? Why ship bananas from Guatemala when we could grow them on the 11th floor? Each floor could contain a specific climate and rotate to follow the sun during the day allowing sweeter fruits and larger produce.
Livestock (sorry vegetarians) may also be an option. Smaller amounts of animals in local vertical farms could allow humane “free range” grazing inside floors dedicated to grass grazing. Cows on 19, chickens on 20 and piggies on 21… going up?
Take a look Dragonfly DRAGONFLY, A METABOLIC FARM FOR URBAN AGRICULTURE project by Vincent Callebaut below.
Advantages of Vertical Farming listed on VerticalFarm.com
- Year-round crop production; 1 indoor acre is equivalent to 4-6 outdoor acres or more, depending upon the crop (e.g., strawberries: 1 indoor acre = 30 outdoor acres)
- No weather-related crop failures due to droughts, floods, pests
- All VF food is grown organically: no herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers
- VF virtually eliminates agricultural runoff by recycling black water
- VF returns farmland to nature, restoring ecosystem functions and services
- VF greatly reduces the incidence of many infectious diseases that are acquired at the agricultural interface
- VF converts black and gray water into potable water by collecting the water of
- VF adds energy back to the grid via methane generation from composting non-edible
parts of plants and animals
- VF dramatically reduces fossil fuel use (no tractors, plows, shipping.)
- VF converts abandoned urban properties into food production centers
- VF creates sustainable environments for urban centers
- VF creates new employment opportunities
- We cannot go to the moon, Mars, or beyond without first learning to farm indoors on
Hybrid Fiber Optic Solar Power
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Imagine future cities collecting and producing more energy than they consume. It may be possible in the near future. Variations of hybrid fiber optic solar systems that use “solar harvesting” and passive solar lighting will deliver sunshine through continuous casting fiber optic cables into the dark interiors of the buildings, homes and offices within cities. New trends in fiber optic “Daylighting” will create a more environmentally sustainable systems in future cities. Future cities may potentially become power generating hubs. If these technologies are implemented correctly, and if future cities become less wasteful we could see an abundance of energy flowing from cities into surrounding suburban or rural areas.
Besides the cost savings and the environmental aspect there are also economic and social advantages. Hybrid fiber optic solar lighting could help people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) by providing workers in offices with little to no natural lighting to have full access to natural daylight. According to a new study, people who work in rooms filled with natural light are more productive and alert. Could natural light in office environments facilitate more innovation?
“Parans is a really fantastic option for a hybrid fiber optic alternative. Parans website describes their system as
“Sunlight for indoor environments through an innovative system that captures and directs the rays of the sun. In a simple way Parans allows you to get natural sunlight in every room: receiver on the outside, cables that transport the light through the property and [easyazon-link asin=”B0062XC9L2″ locale=”us”] luminaries [/easyazon-link] that spreads the light inside. Through Parans system you get the perfect lighting experience where you work, learn and live.”
[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0500286515″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51slVzxt6AL._SL160_.jpg” width=”126″]Future cities will not be the dystopian nightmares as most science fiction film makers would have us believe. Instead they will be efficient, harmonious and environmentally sustainable. Near future technologies like advancements in the solar and data driven farming will allow future mega cities to become beautiful utopian centers. It is written in the our DNA to move toward efficiency and to overcome obstacles. Greed and a deficiency in empathy are the only things standing in the way of our utopian future cities.