07 June 2009

business as usual is over

I have blogged about green-roofs before and today I came across one of the most amazing things I've read about in green architecture. Reading breaking-edge news like this makes me hopeful because there can be eco-warriors even on the corporate side. The NGO/corporate divide is simply that. There are corporates who realise that business as usual cannot progress without accountability. This is precisely because they understand that there are limits to growth when development is unsustainable. This is further reinforced with civil society organizations taking the role of the 'watch dog' seriously enough to challenge both corporates and governments to give more importance to socio-enviro issues. All of this provides an elaborate feedback loop keeping the various systems of regulation in check - for the most part.

Anyway, back to the big news. It has been touted as the biggest green innovation and the future of green cityscapes. It is the vertical greenhouse that has been introduced by the Swedish company Plantagon International in association with Sweco. Launched on World Environment Day, the greenhouse will make it more possible to grow local and eco-friendly crops in an urban environment. While the global population continues to expand at a rapid rate, 80% of all land suitable for crop production is already being used for other purposes. With traditional farming practices, the Earth’s arable land will not be sufficient to produce enough food for this growing population. In response to this challenge, Plantagon has collaborated with the consulting engineering company Sweco to develop a vertical greenhouse for the urban environment.

The idea is to provide organically and locally grown food. Vegetable seeds are grown at the bottom and the spiral in the middle of the 'globe' rotates and in thirty days the vegetables are ready to harvest. This design makes optimal use of the sun's natural light to ripen the vegetables grown.

The future of the world's cities may not just include hydrogen powered emission-less cars, but also dwelling spaces that are entirely powered by renewable energy with zero-waste outputs. Cityscapes filled not only with steel and chrome structures but also green houses and rooftops with vegetation. In my head, it looks wonderful. Like something out of a greener version of the Jetsons.

The world we dream of can be possible. It has been the same world we have been dreaming of these past many years but there has never before been a time like this which will make or break 'the vision'.

There is exactly enough time... starting now
- Dana Meadows

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