[Originally posted on EcoGeek.]


While we are intrigued by the idea and we like some of the eye-catching images, we don’t believe that current conditions make sense for tall urban buildings to be built expressly for growing food. That’s not to say that we are in any way opposed to the idea of growing food in cities, closer to where it is going to be consumed, instead of trucking it from farms hundreds or thousands of miles away.

An alternative concept has been developed by Natalie Jeremijenko, an aerospace engineer and environmental health professor at New York University. Taking advantage of otherwise unused rooftop space, her rooftop pod designs minimize the weight added to the building roof by transferring the load to load bearing walls, thereby avoiding overloading the roof structure. The pods are also configured for hydroponic growth of plants, which eliminates the weight of soil. The lightweight pods are made with EFTE, the same lightweight, translucent material used for striking aquatics facility from the Beijing Olympics, and are aerodynamically designed in order to reduce the wind load added to the building.

Bringing more green into cities is a positive step, whether through exposed systems like green roofs and green walls, or with enclosed systems like this one. And producing food in the city is also an effective measure to decrease the transport needed to bring food to the people who will eat it. By using local production, food can be fresher, and varieties of fruits and vegetables that do not withstand the rigors of transport can once again be made available.

via: Popular Mechanics