Chapter 6. Vertical Farming and the Revival of the California Exurbs

Introduction

The cities of the near future will house more people, under more constrained land and water resources, than we have experienced thus far in the twenty-first century. Accommodation to these restrictions will involve infrastructure—for transportation, housing, and management of coastal waters—that is both large in scale and novel in concept. This article suggests that vertical farming is one such opportunity, suited to major world cities and beyond. It is already emerging as a popular option in world centers; we are concerned with its possible implementation in blighted exurban areas, for instance those of California, where it could help tremendously.

Vertical Farming: A New, Old Technology

Vertical farming, which is farming done in buildings constructed or retrofitted for this purpose,1 is a venerable idea whose time has come. Urban farming is not new, having apparently taken place in Soviet Armenia in 1951. It was suggested as early as a 1909 article in Life magazine (see Wiki entry, June 3, 2015). More recently, urban farming has been suggested as a panacea to logistics costs of industrial farmed goods and a force to counter urban pollution. Its most famous current advocates are Columbia professor Dickson Despommier and Malaysian architect Ken Yeang, but vertical farming is so widespread that it is both an urban planning concept and a popular movement. This article is more ...

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