September 24, 2007
As we seek to reintroduce natural systems into the urban landscape, and rising energy costs make local food increasingly desirable, intensive urban agriculture is shaping up to be a critical component of self-sufficient cities. Jetson Green reports on the latest vertical farming proposal, this one from Seattle: the Center for Urban Agriculture, conceived by local firm Mithun.
The winner of the Cascadia Region Green Building Council’s Living Building Challenge, Mithun’s proposal deftly integrates human and natural systems to function like a living organism. The proposal aims for self-sufficiency in energy (via PV panels with hydrogen storage) and water (via rooftop rainwater harvesting), while providing more than 300 affordable housing units and 40,000 square feet of vertical farming – all on a 3/4 acre footprint.
Of course, the Center for Urban Agriculture is just a proposal, and even if it were to be self-sufficient in energy, water and food, the details of how it would work from a financial perspective are far from clear. As I delve deeper into my ecological site plan for the Domino Sugar Factory, I’ll be taking a close look at proposals like Mithun’s and Dickson Despommier’s Vertical Farm Project to see just how workable they are.