Six-story SUPERFARM designed by Studio NAB is a thought-out holistic approach with valuable inspirations when it comes to space-efficient urban farming. Especially in urban agglomerations where space is rare and costly, vertical agriculture proposals come to the fore. So, SUPERFARM is based on a current problem and uses workable concepts for vertical agriculture that could be implemented with existing technology. A future in which such structures become essential is not impossible – even if the idea of building a highly-engineered structure for nothing but food production may seem too costly to be feasible in the present day.
Studio NAB developed its design as a response to the statistics presented in Dr. Dickson Despommier’s book “The Problem.” In his work, Despommier concludes that vertical farming and urban agriculture are a sustainable alternative to land and resource-hungry traditional farming methods and could be a solution to feeding the world’s growing population. He points to the fact that 80 percent of the world’s arable land is already devoted to other uses.
Farming Without Land
Current efforts towards urban agriculture are primarily targeting reducing food’s carbon footprint, promoting food security, and even improving the urban climate. Studio NAB, on the other hand, looks towards a future in which terrestrial landmasses are almost entirely occupied.
In this scenario, it postulates that vertical farms built over water and occupying space within cities could cater for their food-producing needs. The towers would produce fruits, vegetables, fish, honey, and possibly even high-protein insects to feed city populations without using any pesticides. After all, it is already possible to create controlled environments in which pests and pathogens would be excluded. And there are even various best practice projects in this world. And in fact, according to a study published by MarketsandMarkets, vertical agriculture is a growing billion market.
Another difference between the vertical farm proposed by NAB and anything so far seen is that it will produce a wide variety of highly nutritious foods whereas current urban farms generally only produce greens and occasionally berries or fish. Finally, the farm would generate its own renewable energy using wind and solar installations, making it completely self-sufficient.
Not the Only Possible Solution
For example, instead of building over water to save land acreage, the current practice of rooftop agriculture could be expanded across city spaces. Vertical gardening methods are compact and multiple “levels” of production could be achieved in a relatively low-rise rooftop structure. Spreading production would also spread risk, a factor that no amount of technology has entirely eliminated from food production so far.
Why the SUPERFARM Design?
If the world population continues to grow at its current rate, running out of space to live is a very real possibility. With its SUPERFARM design, Studio NAB draws our attention to the problems of overpopulation, food security, and agricultural sustainability. It presents a startling solution that, while unlikely to be implemented in the near future, will stimulate discussion and raise awareness of the global issues we will very soon confront.