VASHON, Washington — According to the United Nations, almost 700 million global citizens suffer from hunger, a crisis that prompts the development of creative solutions to solve food insecurity. The design firm, Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA), has announced plans to build the “world’s first farmscraper in Shenzhen,” China. A farmscraper is a high-rise building designed for food production. CRA predicts that the building will produce roughly 590,000 pounds of food and “feed up to 40,000 people” every year using hydroponic farming — a method of growing crops with nutrient-rich water vapor instead of soil. Farmscrapers can reduce poverty by making monumental strides in the battle against hunger and food insecurity.
In addition to vegetation, CRA’s farmscraper will contain a supermarket, office spaces, a food court and gardens for events and recreation. The farmscraper will serve the public in numerous ways, offering a combination of social services and sustainable resources. The terraces of the building will also feature several flora plants, including ferns, water lilies and lychee trees.
Although flora does not directly improve food insecurity, it can improve biodiversity and air quality. Small-scale urban farming is a reality for many cities, but the farmscraper in Shenzhen, China, will be one of the first attempts to integrate urban farming into building design on a larger scale. Farmscrapers can reduce poverty by providing a range of social benefits, including greater food production and accessibility.
Farmscrapers have the potential to create jobs, boost economic development and increase tourism. The buildings will open up several opportunities for employment, including construction and gardening opportunities. The Shenzhen farmscraper, in particular, will require people to work in the grocery store and office spaces.
Plant products from urban farming have commercial value, which can attract investors and increase economic activity. Farmscrapers may also attract tourists who want to see the newest developments in sustainable agriculture, especially in the grandiose form of a skyscraper. Economically, farmscrapers could reduce poverty by raising people’s incomes through employment opportunities, thereby improving people’s quality of life and igniting economic growth.
The environmental benefits of farmscrapers closely link to the social benefits. Farmscrapers can increase biodiversity, which is essential to “food and nutrition security, energy, development of medicines and pharmaceuticals and freshwater,” according to the World Health Organization. The Shenzhen farmscraper will also utilize hydroponic farming, which requires less land, water and pesticides than traditional farming.
Additionally, the CRA predicts that the crops in Shenzhen’s farmscraper will grow large enough in size to provide shade to the office workers in the building, which reduces the need for air conditioning. Farmscrapers offer a multitude of environmental benefits, many of which directly improve the lives of people who live around the buildings.
A Creative Solution for Reducing Global Poverty
Food insecurity is a daily struggle for people around the world, but farmscrapers may be able to help combat world hunger. Even though Shenzhen’s farmscraper is still a work in progress, it could turn out to be the first of many urban buildings that provide sustainable food via hydroponic farming to city inhabitants. As meeting points between urban life and the natural world, farmscrapers could make lasting differences in the integration of sustainable food sources into low-income communities.
– Cleo Hudson