In Barcelona, a team comes up with biological concrete designed to act as a substrate for vertical gardens that is simple, low maintenance and requires little or no attention.
Crops could soon be grown in greenhouses the size of skyscrapers in city centres across the country, it has been claimed.
Birds Eye and other food producers are investigating building ‘plantscrapers’, which could accommodate hundreds of storeys worth of crops, in a bid to make farming more economical, sustainable and meet increasing demand.
The ‘vertical farms’ would use an innovative feeding system which nourishes plants with enriched water, therefore cancelling out the need for soil – and the need for food to be grown and harvested in the countryside.
In Linkoping, Sweden, a 54-metre-high structure (just over half the height of Elizabeth Tower – home of Big Ben – in London) is being built by Swedish firm Plantagon. By 2014, the structure will produce a range of leafy green vegetables, including salad leaves, spinach and mustard greens.
People living in rickety and makeshift shacks in slum areas can wait for years before they can get connected to the electricity or water grids, and the United Nations estimates that 62 per cent of the urban population in Sub-Saharan Africa lives in slums.
With the iShack, the ‘improved shack’, they get a solid dwelling that is fitted with enough solar panels to keep the lights on at night and provide power for important equipment such as mobile phone chargers.
Windows are placed to maximise air circulation and the sloping roof allows rainwater to be collected.
The walls are insulated with recycled materials, a brick floor helps keep temperatures steady and flame-retardant paint is intended to reduce the risk of fires.
An initiative from researchers at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, an initial grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will build 100 over the next year.
Posted by Jill Fallon at January 9, 2013 12:03 PM | Permalink