Vertical Farming – The Future Architecture Landscape. By When?

I am posting this up after knowing this is the THIRD most viewed blog post in my old blog.

* And It’s posted more than one year ago so please be reminded opinions may have changed =)
And recently I saw this series about Vertical Farming, (though I didn’t put my butt down for one hour to see everything) Certainly this is potential to be the hot issue after a couple of years!


So Vertical Farming?

Vertical Farming is a proposed agricultural technique as well as being assisted by Architecture Design to have large scale agriculture in Urban High Rises, or we call it the term “farmscrapers” SSounds nicer right? Imagine KL skyline soon will light in green during night time, and all those windmills by the top of the buildings instead of Helicopter Pads?

What’s the Intention? History?

Then now we talk about a future opportunity to impact the nation’s economy as well as social politics greatly, what about the Advantages? and also Disadvantage?

1) Preparation for The Future

It’s pretty obvious. Estimated that by the year of 2050, Close to 80% of the world’s population will live in urban areas and the total population of the world will increase by 3 Billion people. By this rate, Farmland is not an option already because will severe damage to the earth. Vertical Farm will definitely help to eliminate the need to create additional farmland, they will use recycling techniques rather than harming the earth by traditional farming.

2) Increased Crop Production

Using Vertical Farming meaning we can alternate the soil’s composition, as well as sunlight, basically customising everything from top to bottom to have the variety of crops you want. All season farming multiplies the productivity of the farmed surface by a factor of 4 to 6.

3) Transportation Free

With this concept, we believe that the crops would be sold in the same infrastructure they are grown. Resulting in far fewer spoilages and infestations than conventional farming encounters.

4) Protection from weather-related problems.

Crops grown in traditional outdoor farming suffer from all sorts of extreme meteorological events such as the undesirable amount of rainfall, temperature, earthquakes, anything that could deteriorate the production of the crop. Any major change in the climate could vanish up the crop and eventually not only cause the risk of extinction as well as the major impact on the economy and also lead to the catastrophic demonstration. With this, Vertical Farming could ensure the safety of the crop and the expected constant output of crops.

5) Conservation of Resources.

Vertical Farms could effectively convert wastewater and polluted air into clean, and usable resources back for the same purpose as well as a collection of rainwater, that could use it to water the crops instead of causing flash floods in the city. Also, pure oxygen produced by photosynthesis of the crop can be released into the environment adding to the improvement of air quality surrounding the Vertical Farm. Everything here is centralised, making it easier to manage.

6) Urban Growth

Vertical Farming enables cities to expand while remaining self-sufficient, the city wouldn’t need to worry about farm supply from the suburban areas. The industry of vertical farming will provide employment to these expanding cities, this may help to displace the unemployment created by the dismantling of traditional farms. However, it is unlikely that traditional farms will become obsolete, some crops are not suitable for vertical farming.

7) Energy Production

There are pros and cons here. Pros would be methane digesters could be built on site to transform the organic waste generated at the farm into biogas, this could be burned to generate electricity that can either be consumed at the farm or added to the grid, all in all, it means the building could be fully independent, from resources to food, to energy. However, no concrete evidence that such building could eventually save electricity and power because artificial sunlight requires a lot of energy as well.

8 ) Lesser new species discovery/mutation?

With all the new crops and animals being taken care under a very systematic environment, variations are going to be rare, animals and plants genetically slowly evolve to be another stronger species under harsh condition, with the existence of vertical tower, everything is suit according to the plant’s character and thus not allowing greater variations of discovery.

9) Green Architecture

Vertical Farming could directly contribute to the sense of GBI Green Building Index, allowing people the role of crops and the benefits from them to help to indicate and elevate the GBI value once again. Combined with the right technology and design of Architecture, Vertical Farming is certainly to be an art to be appreciated because it takes the good ventilation and sunlight distribution Designed Structures by Architecture to work well. Structures with a lot of Cantilevers as well as Glass Panels would be expected.Just like the one below.

So are we Ready? Is Malaysia Ready?

Current policies state that Malaysia Government plan has still plenty reserve land area to develop traditional Farming. Also with the lack of technology as well as right investments and lack of knowledge for Green Building and also the mindset of Developer, we simply do not have the need or urgency or assets to do something like Vertical Farming. Let’s just hope we are ready when the world is really telling us to be ready then =)

Singapore would definitely better off thinking about this option because they are largely depending on imports of crops as well as cattle, it is estimated by 2015 they do not have any other reserve lands for development, the area above Jurong west is simply for water catchment area and almost the whole Island of Singapore is developed. Perhaps this is their Government’s Plan quite soon? we don’t know =)