Expanding cities no longer derive their food supply from their hinterlands but rely on the global food trade. Given the limited availability of land, water and nutrients, however, the sustainability of these networks is questionable. Perspectives for a robust urban agricultural system might lie in the development of local high-density production systems in structurally vacant buildings.
This research addresses the requirements, design and energetic performances of vertical farming in existing structures. Its main thrust is the optimisation of the production area, interior climate and energetic expenditure. While emphasising the long-term potential of vertical farming, the study acknowledges the inherent challenges of this complex and interdisciplinary pursuit.
The study has three aims. The first is to analyse agricultural production techniques and determine the optimal climate conditions for plant production, specifying their associated energy fluxes. The second is to formulate design guidelines for re-developing existing buildings into vertical farms. The third is to assess the potential for such re-development in light of the performance of two case studies from divergent settings.
We have to ask ourselves what cities would be like if we were to grow food locally, consume food consciously and design our immediate environment to be able to grow food.