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Earth Science

Spiraling Skyscraper Farms For a Future Manhattan 403

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the biomorphic-structures-are-made-of-people dept.
Mike writes "One of three finalists in this year's Evolo Skyscraper Competition, Eric Vergne's Dystopian Farm project envisions a future New York City interspersed with elegantly spiraling skyscraper farms. The biomorphic structures harness cutting-edge technology to provide the city with its own self-sustaining food source while dynamically altering the fabric of city life."
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Spiraling Skyscraper Farms For a Future Manhattan

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Monday February 16, 2009 @03:08PM (#26875489) Journal

    One of three finalists in this year's Evolo Skyscraper Competition, Eric Vergne's Dystopian Farm project envisions a future New York City ...

    So that's what they're aiming for these days? A dystopian future? Well, at least the architects are catching on to the trend our government's been setting.

    I don't know if it's Slashdotted or what but from what I can see in other sources [treehugger.com], these are really just photoshopped images some dude made while tripping balls.

    I may have been raised a dumbass farmboy but here's a few hints to architects like this guy:

    • Plants (especially plants like alfalfa or grasses [wikivisual.com] as depicted) have massive root systems requiring literally tons of soil to be healthy.
    • Tons of soil weigh a lot.
    • Soil has no architectural integrity.
    • Buildings don't like tons of weight with no architectural integrity.
    • Plants need water. Lots of water.
    • Buildings don't like water.
    • Plants die & rot (it's natural). Rotting plants smell. People don't like smelly buildings.
    • Currently we use large machines to cultivate plants because it sucks, none of these images look like that would be possible.

    I could go on for hours about how completely unrealistic this bad idea is. These pictures indicate that the architects have little to no idea of how top soil and nutrient cycles work.

    There's no better way to put a million people into a square mile than skyscrapers in a city. Leave Manhattan as Manhattan and instead focus your efforts on controlling waste and returning the Northeast to massive forests (for some reason Americans love to overlook the ridiculous logging that took place here while we bitch and moan about the rain forests).

    • You forgot to mention that it's "not even a mother could love it" ugly.

      The design is apparently "gigantic opened up hornets nest", and it looks like finding a level surface to put a chair on might be difficult.
      • and it looks like finding a level surface to put a chair on might be difficult.
        Much less farm equipment or even farmers. Apparently the farm of the future will be farmed by the newly sentient chimpanzee...
        • by peragrin (659227)

          given the unemployement of cities it would make sense.

          However that statement means I am racist.

      • > You forgot to mention that it's "not even a Mother Earth could love it" ugly.

        Fixed it for you.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Arancaytar (966377)

        Exactly. "Elegant"?

        I can't imagine by what standards. It looks like some Lovecraftian worm creature emerging from the depth in a horror movie. :P

    • There's no better way to put a million people into a square mile than skyscrapers in a city. Leave Manhattan as Manhattan and instead focus your efforts on controlling waste and returning the Northeast to massive forests (for some reason Americans love to overlook the ridiculous logging that took place here while we bitch and moan about the rain forests).

      I pretty much agree with everything you say, but... isn't the point of this silly exercise to be able to free up the land to go back to forests?

      People seem to want to continue eating food, so... if we reforest the Eastern U.S., where does the food come from? While the stated concept may be ridiculous, the underlying idea of vertical farming [wikipedia.org] (and/or hydroponics [wikipedia.org]) may have some value...

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 16, 2009 @03:18PM (#26875629)

      Tons of soil weigh alot? By my calculations it should only weigh a few tons..

      and no, you do not need soil to grow plants.. Hydroponics and Aeroponics do not use soil and have impressive yields.

      The rest of your argument is just as poorly thought out, the major down side I see to farming in the city is the toxins the plants will absorb from the air making it into the food supply.

    • by Zerth (26112) on Monday February 16, 2009 @03:19PM (#26875661)

      Give him a small break, the plans do indicate using aeroponics.

      So instead of tons of dirt & water, the building only needs a 90% humidity level.

      Just imagine the mold on your servers.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by travisb828 (1002754)

      To me a more realistic version of urban farming would be small gardens on the balconies of the sunny side of a high rise. Then the condo board could have a little farmers market in the lobby. This would depend on the willingness of the residents to work their little gardens. I guess you could get a break on HOA fees if you produce a good supply of fruits and vegetables.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      You also forgot: A key part of photosynthesis is the "photo" part. What is this idiot planning to do, have a zillion megawatts/acre of grow lights on all the lower levels? Kill a forest or two to power this POS. This "architect" should get negative points on is certified moron exam for excess display of ignorance.
      • by ArhcAngel (247594) on Monday February 16, 2009 @04:07PM (#26876297)

        What is this idiot planning to do, have a zillion megawatts/acre of grow lights on all the lower levels?

        Perhaps this idiot is planning to harness the power of the sun like every other farmer does. Maybe he even has a technology [ecogeek.org] already at his disposal that would make it feasible and cost effective.

        • by von_rick (944421)
          In order to facilitate the photosynthesis at lower levels of that structure you'll need a source that will provide same amount of light over the entire area as direct sunlight. Even if you have a 100% efficiency, the reflectors and thingummies needed to capture that kind of sunlight would be rather unaffordable in Manhattan.
        • by Thelasko (1196535)

          Perhaps this idiot is planning to harness the power of the sun like every other farmer does. Maybe he even has a technology [ecogeek.org] already at his disposal that would make it feasible and cost effective.

          How is this informative? There is no way that solar panels or even focusing light is more efficient than simply exposing the plants to the sun naturally. Our current methods of farming are far more efficient. If these skyscraper farms came even close to being as efficient as a regular farm, they would be going up all over the place.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 16, 2009 @03:26PM (#26875791)

      Apparently you have never been to the Living Earth at Epcot. They have plants growing quite successfully with absolutely zero soil. In the air. On rotating armatures.
      For a closer to home example, go two houses down and ask the indoor pot growers how many plants they have going in that converted home.
      Also, look into biofilm farming technology.

      Or, better yet, you could ACTUALLY research some of your points before you jump on the "this could never happen, just destroy the communities outside NYC" rant train.

      It is all technologically feasible, if not likely in the way the entrant envisions. If you believe half of the futurists in the country, it's almost inevitable unless someone finds a way to regulate the human birth rate.

      In short: STFU, read more dystopian novels, and think outside of your cube.

      • by eln (21727) on Monday February 16, 2009 @04:45PM (#26876835) Homepage

        unless someone finds a way to regulate the human birth rate.

        That's easy, just give everyone a Slashdot account.

      • by fifedrum (611338)

        Nothings growing in these super future buildings without fusion power plants putting out terrawatts of juice to provide the energy to power the grow lights. We're talking levels of fusion power high enough to add a distinctive helium twinge to the air.

        Sure, you only need light and nutrients to grow stuff. vertical is fine, hydroponic is fine, bio mats are fine, but none of it means anything if the city planning board puts another sky scraper between yours and the sun. Even buildings in the tropics, with the

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Bombula (670389)

        There seems to be a cognitive disconnect in scale when folks view proposals like these. Hydroponics and aeroponics work at the scale of gardening, not industrial agriculture. So of course you're not going to get massive monocrop yields out of a building like this. But then, that's not the point of a garden.

        After all, the amount of light the building can receive is limited to the area of its footprint plus the area of the shadow it sweeps out multiplied by the duration of time that light falls on that a

    • Economics (Score:5, Interesting)

      by pavon (30274) on Monday February 16, 2009 @03:27PM (#26875801)

      And even if they could solve all the engineering problems, there is no way it will ever be economically viable to use prime real estate in the middle of Manhattan for farming. It will always cost more to farm in a sky scraper than on the ground, so they won't be able to compete in the global market against traditional farms. Furthermore, using it locally won't matter either. New York is a major shipping hub, and has more fresh food passing through it than the vast majority of the country, and as a consequence has lower grocery prices than many parts of the country.

      The only point at which something like this would make sense is if we've transformed the vast majority of the planet into a giant city, like Tantor.

      • It will always cost more to farm in a sky scraper than on the ground, so they won't be able to compete in the global market against traditional farms.

        That assumes that moving 1000 of tons of food stuff long distances every day is always going to be cheap which in a world of finite fossil fuels is a risky strategy.

      • The only point at which something like this would make sense is if we've transformed the vast majority of the planet into a giant city, like Tantor.

        You mean Trantor [wikipedia.org] Tantor [wikipedia.org] is a fictional element. Coruscant [wikipedia.org] would also be an accepted example.

      • by Ogive17 (691899)
        Growing produce like that I think would be economically viable. Producing corn and soybeans, you are right, that should remain in the hands of the commercial farmer.

        We have a produce farm just outside of town here, a good portion of the work that is done is by hand (I made $10/hr the summer between my sophomore and junior year in high school ). Machines just aren't good at picking stuff like tomatoes, green beans, peppers without destroying the plant and hampering any additional harvest a week later.
      • The light is still 2D, so going vertical doesn't make any more. If you can see the sun from where you live, then that is sunlight that is not being farmed.

        It is very unlikely to be self sufficient because the modern American diet is so inefficient, particularly feedlot meat production which requires around an acre of grain/corn/soy raising to feed an American with meat.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by dave1g (680091)

        you have obviously not shopped for groceries anywhere other than NYC.

        Prices are usually 50%-200% higher here for groceries in my super market in Queens compared to grocery stores in San Antonio, Texas where I am from. And it is the cheapest one around that I found.

        Of course things in general cost twice as much here compared to San Antonio. rent, housing, gas (well about 25 cents more), groceries, labor, driving (tolls vs no tolls), movie tickets, a night out at a reasonably nice restaurant (not even somethi

    • by Reziac (43301) * on Monday February 16, 2009 @03:28PM (#26875809) Homepage Journal

      Not to mention that most food-producing plants need a full day of DIRECT sunlight every day of their lives. Indirect light doesn't cut it. Half days of sunlight don't cut it. They need more energy than that (after all, plants are essentially an energy-binding system, and their food value is directly proportional to how much energy they can bind).

      Oh, and about water, it's heavy. WAY heavier than soil. Dry soil is light, but not much grows in it. Watered soil is heavy!

      Whenever I see a project like this, I know the designer has read too much science fiction and hasn't driven enough combines.

    • by Renraku (518261)

      You could do it with hydroponics. It might even be a good idea to generate extra food for a city's needs. You have an abundance of power, water, and minerals. We can turn them into delicious food.

      • by Culture20 (968837)

        Renraku (518261): "You have an abundance of power, water, and minerals. We can turn them into delicious food."

        Soylent Green is eldavojohn (898314)!

      • You have an abundance of power, water, and minerals.

        You do not have an abundance of sunlight. No amount of cutesy fractal surface area enhancement will increase how much sunlight comes from the sun.

    • by denttford (579202) * on Monday February 16, 2009 @03:31PM (#26875857) Homepage
      Not only that, but from a real estate perspective, it makes no sense. If you build vertical space in Manhattan people or companies want to move in.

      Apples don't give much of a good goddamn in which county they are grown. People care where they live.
      If vertical farming makes sense (from an economic and agricultural perspective) do it... I don't know... maybe on farmland?

      This post brought to you from the 12th floor in Midtown.
      • by Ogive17 (691899)
        I think the key to something like this is growing the food near the demand for the food. Cutting unnecessary transportation costs/fuel consumption getting the produce to the market. What if each borough of NY had a 20 story vertical farm (with ground floor being the food market)..
    • by Thelasko (1196535)

      I could go on for hours about how completely unrealistic this bad idea is. These pictures indicate that the architects have little to no idea of how top soil and nutrient cycles work.

      Here's one more for ya:

      There is no way this thing is self-sustaining.

      You see food is energy. Plants convert sunlight into food energy. I don't care if you put solar panels on the roof, and recycle every tiny piece of waste, more energy is going out (as food) than coming in. The only way this thing will work is if a massive external source of energy is used to power it.

    • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Monday February 16, 2009 @03:33PM (#26875883)

      Most of your arguments come down to one thing: soil.

      Generally, vertical farming ideas utilize hydroponics (growing plants with nutrients dissolved in water) to get around this problem. It is a technology that has been used (in smaller scales) for decades with many different plant species and is known to produce much higher yields (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroponics#Higher_Yields/ [wikipedia.org]). Ironically, hydroponic farming also uses much less water than traditional farming, because the water is recycled through the system until it is actually used by the plants as opposed to irrigating a field and having most of the water evaporate before it is used.

      As for the other issues, I have toured several greenhouses in my life and it is not a smell that is repulsive. Many people enjoy the smell of growing things, though doubtless it is something that urbanites would have to get used to. As far as cultivation, well there is no need to spray herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizer so generally the only cultivation necessary is planting and harvesting. Do you honestly believe that we can build machines to plant and harvest thousands of acres of open field, but can't automate the process in a controlled environment?

      I'm not saying that this particular design is sound, it looks like a fairytale structure the guy though would look cool rather than something designed with efficiency or strength in mind.

    • Hmmm.... From the article:

      >By 2050 nearly 80% of the worldâ(TM)s population will reside in urban centers, and 109 hectares of arable land will be needed to feed them.

      109 hectares is all we will need to feed all of the worlds city population! Cool... ;)

      Though getting to your points:

      >Plants (especially plants like alfalfa or grasses [wikivisual.com] as depicted) have massive root systems requiring literally tons of soil to be healthy.

      No not really... What plants need are nutrients, sun, and water. Soil is not necessary actually. What soil does is moderate the distribution of those things.

      >Plants need water. Lots of water.

      Well that depends. It depends on how you will distribute the water to them.

      >Buildings don't like water.

      Not necessarily, it really depends on the materials used to build them.

      > Plants die & rot (it's natural). Rotting plants smell. People don't like smelly buildings.

      Plants need to be trimmed and taken care off. We have a gardening philosophy where you grow and let it die.

      >Currently we use large machines to cultivate plants because it sucks, none of these images look like that would be possible.

      How about the iRobot company?

      For example you do the following:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroponics [wikipedia.org]

    • Anyone so foolish as to attempt to "dynamically altering the fabric of city life" in NYC will find himself fed to the rabid taxi cabs in short order.

    • Plants need sunlight, which won't magically increase just because you have expanded the surface area. No city can feed itself with the available sunlight over its city limits.

      Or maybe he includes lots of growlights and the associated bigass nuclear power plants, and figures people will get along jess fine with all that concentrated light.

    • hmmm..that has been accomplished if you want to go check it out. The north eastern states have just huge amounts of forests. Go out in the woods there where the big trees live and go for a hike. Every once in awhile you'll find still intact but usually quite overgrown huge long stone walls, some ten feet high even with trees growing from the tops of them. Some are hard to see because they have been so long overgrown, but you can see the lines of them easily. There are thousands of miles of them still to see

  • Pollution? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Toe, The (545098) on Monday February 16, 2009 @03:10PM (#26875523)
    Any concern about the dense air pollution in NYC getting into the food? Doesn't seem like particularly "organic" food when the plants are feeding on car exhaust and cigarette smoke...
  • by onion2k (203094) * on Monday February 16, 2009 @03:10PM (#26875529) Homepage

    It's very pretty and all, but for all it's "I copied this from nature!" functionality he seems to have forgotten to design a way to actually harvest the crops. If you can't drive a combine harvester or a tractor around it then it's not much cop as a farm.

    Unless he's suggesting we return to manual labour. In which case he's solved all our employment problems at the same time and he should be heralded as a genius.

    • by Zerth (26112)

      Even if you could get a combine up there, good luck finding someone to drive it.

      There aren't any railings!

      Hell, if they did convince someone to do so, I'd stay fair clear of it lest I became combined with the concrete after one went over.

    • Unless he's suggesting we return to manual labour.

      Well, it is the "Dystopian Farm project". Of course, the architects wouldn't have to do any of that manual labor: they'd be busy designing more of these remarkably ugly things.

    • I'd imagine they could just build the harvester into the building itself and basically automate everything from the planting to the harvesting. Of course I'd still recommend a human presence to monitor it and to know when the harvest is ready.
    • by Reziac (43301) *

      It looks to me more like he copied it from hive-building aliens.

    • What kind of 'combine' harvests tomatoes, lettuces and all the other plants that are currently hydroponically grown for mass markets?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Thelasko (1196535)

      Unless he's suggesting we return to manual labour. In which case he's solved all our employment problems at the same time and he should be heralded as a genius.

      When have we moved away from manual labor? Sure, wheat, oats, rye, barley, corn (maize), soybeans, and flax (linseed) can be harvested with a combine [wikipedia.org], but much of our food is still harvested manually. At the moment there is no automated method to harvest many fruits, nuts, and vegetables. This is the reason why many farms rely on illegal migrant workers [wikipedia.org] and the United States has become reliant on imports from foreign countries. [washingtonpost.com]

      As a side note, an inventor of a device that can harvest these fruits and v

  • I wonder, can you use your shuba off one of those things?

  • by Walpurgiss (723989) on Monday February 16, 2009 @03:16PM (#26875597)
    Who exactly is going to be willing to eat produce grown in a smog cloud? I doubt people will eat that food just because it was grown in the city, so it won't really sustain the city. It is unlikely ever to be cheaper to produce food there than in foreign fields.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by StarFace (13336) *

      Ever heard of catsup, or boston baked beans? People eat utter crap. Hardly anyone eats fresh produce in quantities enough to notice whether or not it had relatively clean air as a child.

  • silithid (Score:5, Funny)

    by OglinTatas (710589) on Monday February 16, 2009 @03:23PM (#26875747)

    Looks like something the silithid [wowwiki.com] might build. I'm thinking the cenarion circle is going to ask me to go there and hack up 15 searchers, 20 tunnelers, and return with 5 egg sacks for study.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Archimonde (668883)

      And then the same treehugger will send you back to the same place to kill swarmers until they drop 5 legs which will take an average of 40 kills (even though every swarmer has at least 6 legs). And of course as swarmers are tightly packed with the mobs you mention you'll have to kill them too.

      When you finally get back, you will be asked to rescue some retarded night elf chick or some moronic dwarf in the lair of the biggest hive killing all those mobs again. The reward is an item of very small to no value.

      T

  • by Kral_Blbec (1201285) on Monday February 16, 2009 @03:25PM (#26875765)

    I seem to remember some statistic from history about food production in the USA where it was 100 years ago it took like 70 people to provide enough food for 100 people a year, then 50 years ago it was some other number, and currently it is like 5 people can feed 100 for a year. I dont think that food production is really a big problem for the future. Food distrobution might, but again I doubt it. Employment to buy said food is the issue. Building a brand new ultra modern skyscraper isnt going to help much when the only people that can afford to live in it are executives who can afford anything they need already.
    There are too many people, in the USA and abroad, who have zero employable skills. Personally I think it falls back to the question of education. We dont need as much manual labor as we used to. We need more thinkers. Kids nowdays are lazy and stupid, hardly a bright future when it comes to scientific development.

    • Everyone thinks "kids today" are bad... You know what? they're not. They're just as dumb as their parents were at that age. I know I did plenty of stupid stuff when I was young....

      Plenty of kids today are bright and creative, and now have outlets for that creativity thanks to our wonderful information age.

      So go stick in your craw Gramps.

      -T

    • by Culture20 (968837)

      We dont need as much manual labor as we used to. We need more thinkers.

      I contend that we need the reverse. Those magic hydro/aero-ponic buildings aren't going to get thought into existence. A few people are going to think it up, then a few thousand people are going to build them; same ratio as most of history. The U.S. already has a glut of (exclusive) thinkers, and we're groaning under the weight; all trying to out-think each other to get the few goods and services the doers provide. Other countries with higher percentages of doers seem to be well set for the future (unti

  • More Digg... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mex (191941) on Monday February 16, 2009 @03:25PM (#26875777)

    Sigh, it's getting a little weird visiting Digg and seeing the exact same headline on slashdot in the span of a few minutes...

    http://digg.com/travel_places/Spiraling_Skyscraper_Farms_for_a_Future_Manhattan [digg.com]

  • by Wrath0fb0b (302444) on Monday February 16, 2009 @03:31PM (#26875849)

    Land on Manhattan remains some of the most valuable land on the planet. And he wants to use it for the most land-intensive production imaginable? For the price of an acre on Manhattan, you could buy 100 acres in the Midwest, plus the equipment and personnel to operate it, plus transportation of the final product to NYC. That's the market trying to give you a hint that allocating Manhattan real estate to agriculture is not the most efficient thing to do.

    Even more damning, the whole damned point of having a civilization is to allow a small minority of farmers to produce enough food for everyone so that the rest of us can do things like engineering, science, art, law, politics, philosophy and all those other things that many of us find more satisfying than toiling in a field.

    Disclosure: I have a garden in my backyard and I enjoy growing food in it. I don't, however, delude myself into thinking that it's anything other than a hobby -- one that is not economically sound (in the sense that I can buy the finished products much cheaper than I can grow them myself). Since I have to bring in soil, water and fertilizer, I'd be lucky if the whole thing was carbon neutral.

    • For the price of an acre on Manhattan, you could buy 100 acres in the Midwest, plus the equipment and personnel to operate it, plus transportation of the final product to NYC. That's the market trying to give you a hint that allocating Manhattan real estate to agriculture is not the most efficient thing to do.

      Fair enough, but those things that increase our quality of life tend to be inherently inefficient. A workplace environment may demand high productivity from its workers, but good friendships require

    • > For the price of an acre on Manhattan, you could buy 100 acres
      > in the Midwest, plus the equipment and personnel to operate it,
      > plus transportation of the final product to NYC.

      You're absolutely right - if your definition of efficiency is dollars, and if your work base comes from underpaid black/grey market laborers, and if the cost of fuel is artificially low.

      > I have a garden ... I have to bring in soil, water and fertilizer

      That's really cool you grow a garden. We have one too, that we grow

  • Bees (Score:5, Funny)

    by snspdaarf (1314399) on Monday February 16, 2009 @03:38PM (#26875935)
    Maybe we are supposed to wait for the bees to fill the thing with honey, then eat the building.
  • by bdbolton (830677) on Monday February 16, 2009 @03:39PM (#26875959) Journal

    "By 2050 nearly 80% of the worldâ(TM)s population will reside in urban centers, and 109 hectares of arable land will be needed to feed them."

    Assuming this quote is accurate, then that means we'll have plenty of land to grow crops on (because not as many people live in rural areas).

  • I thought we paid farmer not to plant crops because we have too many farmers.

    If they were all to try to plant food and sell it none of them would be able to cover costs.

    So how is this going to be cost effective?
    • I'm not sure where you get your information, but in Canada farming is subsidized in many different ways. We pay significantly less property taxes, sales tax (25% of normal), and are eligible for grants, government-guaranteed loans, cash advances for impending crops, and other sources of money. This is in effort to make farming easier for us, and to encourage us to keep producing livestock, food, etc.

      The number of farms is shrinking dramatically every year. I'm sure it's much the same in the States. The
      • Correction.. I misplaced the parentheses: we pay 25% of property taxes. For sales taxes in many cases we are exempt or reduced.
  • by Locke2005 (849178)
    My knowledge of topology might be somewhat limited, but don't plants require sunlight, and wouldn't a traditional horizontal farm receive a lot more sunlight per unit surface area than a vertical farm?
    • by Firethorn (177587)

      It depends, different plants require different amounts of light, and remember, NYC is quite far north - there's a strong bias towards the south over light coming from directly above.

      So you can put plants that like shade behind the full sun ones, even make up some of the difference with artificial lighting, especially if you're trying to grow extreme sun plants like tropical fruit bearers.

  • In other news, Battlestar Galactica fans want to build a Cylon base star in Norfolk, Virginia.

  • by poity (465672) on Monday February 16, 2009 @03:59PM (#26876211)

    the last resort of art school and engineering school dropouts.

     

    /still in architecture school.. :o

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Monday February 16, 2009 @04:04PM (#26876263) Journal

    There's a really good reason most buildings are rectilinear - anything else is significantly more expensive to build. I love how these designers just think we'll magically come up with the ability to analyze, design and fabricate these types of structures. Have you even wondered why we don't all live in Gehry-inspired buildings? It's because, as interesting as they are to look at, they cost between 5 and 50 times as much per square foot of usable space to build. Now, I'm sure most Wall Street types, with annual salaries that look like my phone number, don't care how much their living space costs, but I work for a living and I just can't see multiplying my mortgage times 10 just so food that grows just great on a farm down the road can grow in the flat next to me.

    Sure, you can hydroponic this and aeroponic that, but I'm still waiting for anyone to actually make a sustainable, profit generating business which operates in all the sectors of agricultural products. And make a city produce it's own food? You've got to be kidding me. It takes something like three acres of flat land to support a person on an ongoing basis (no, I don't have a citation). I'll give you that I'm off by an order of magnitude AND that you can get an order of magnitude better results by using hydroponics. You'd need to double to quadruple the space for every person (1300SF hydroponics per person vs less than 600SF per person for living). So now instead of increasing your mortgage/rent tenfold, you'll have to double or triple that. But hey, you'll get free food (without processing) for just 29 times what you currently pay for your mortgage, which probably comes out to only a few times your annual income. And you still haven't figured out _how_ to harvest and process that material in such a system.

    Why can't they just call these science fiction studies? I hope the winner didn't expect a cookie.

  • by ccady (569355) on Monday February 16, 2009 @04:06PM (#26876293) Journal
    Silly person. Doesn't he realize that NYC already is growing food? Hasn't he seen Soylent Green [youtube.com]? Doesn't he watch Monty Python [youtube.com]?
  • i could see that going over on the west coast, but it just wouldn't fit in in NYC.

  • What?? No flying cars?
  • All very creative and everything, but until people learn how to fly on their own where do skyscrapers fit into the post-oil world? Seems to me we should say, "Food hell, will a skyscraper create enough energy to heat and cool itself and move the people up and down?"

    You could say, "It's better than a suburb!" But are suburbs _or_ skyscrapers a good idea?

  • ".....to provide the city with its own self-sustaining food source while dynamically altering the fabric of city life."

    -Food like what? Crack?

  • If you know xbox games (halo and mirror's edge, specifically), the renders look like The Flood from Halo took over the city in Mirror's Edge. There are alien looking structure Creepy...
    -Taylor

The cost of feathers has risen, even down is up!

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