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Tag: skyscraper

“Vertical farming” in skyscrapers might be the next trend in locally-grown food, but wait until you hear about HORIZONTAL farming!

Background:

Recently, there has been discussion around the futuristic concept of “vertical farming”: growing crops in skyscraper-style greenhouses in city centers.

The issue:

Although there are many conceptual advantages to such a farm, there is at least one major difficulty: light. Obviously, only the topmost layer of a vertical farm would be practical to light with sunlight (Figure 1): lower layers would need to be lit with high-efficiency narrow-spectral-band LED lighting.

Fig. 1: This vertical farm (right) has a major downside: there’s really only one “floor” worth of sunlight, so it’s impractical to use sunlight for crop growth. Although LED lights can be extremely efficient, the power requirements of a large-scale vertical farm would be substantial.

Proposal:

The “horizontal farm” is the best of both worlds: a structure that can fit in the footprint of a single office building, yet is capable of harnessing sunlight from dozens of adjacent city blocks.

The horizontal farm building is designed as follows: it consists of a vertical stack of floors, just like a traditional skyscraper. However, the floors are not directly connected to each other: instead, they hang from two vertical rails that can pivot to a horizontal orientation.

When the rails begin rotating to the horizontal position (Figure 2), each “farm floor” pivots in the opposite direction, thus maintaining a horizontal orientation at all times.


Fig. 2: Each floor on this vertical farm is mounted on an enormous central pivot point. The building can be slowly turned from a vertical to a horizontal orientation. Now the plants can directly use the sun, cutting out the LED lighting middle-man!

Conclusion:

This bold new architectural design could be the future of locally-grown food!

PROS: Allows farming to harness the power of the sun directly, with no intermediate energy conversion (to LED lighting) required! Also has the advantage of providing valuable shade to city-dwellers who might otherwise get sunburns.

CONS: None!

Your city can save millions of dollars a year by employing this one weird animal!

Background:

Modern buildings with large windows generally do not provide any way of opening the windows. This means that window washers are required and, additionally, that the window washers must work from the exterior of the building.

window-washer-snail-skyscraper

Fig 1: Window washing is a hazardous dangerous occupation that can be streamlined by making use of an ecologically-friendly natural and organic cage-free solution that already exists—the humble snail.

Proposal:

Specifically, we can use a terrestrial variant of the common aquarium snail to clean all the dirt and grime off a building.

All we need to do is:

  • Find a type of snail that can climb up glass (easy) and is air-breathing (easy)
  • Find a food source for this snail that will motivate it to climb all around the glass
  • Coat our skyscraper / other building with this substance. For example, if the snail likes to eat honey, then we would pour honey off the roof of the building until the skyscraper was covered in it (as the honey slowly drips down the building).
  • Finally, unleash the cleaning snails to clean off both the honey and any assorted window grime.

Conclusion:

This is an eco-friendly way of washing windows that does not use any harsh chemicals.

PROS: Reduces snail unemployment.

CONS: Increases human unemployment.