Our greatest cities could see massive tree-like structures rising amidst their skyscrapers one day. Teeming with life, these vertical gardens could provide both food and a bit of green space for city folk. These enormous vertical farms could be the self-sustaining hearts of their host cities. They'll scrub the air clean, purify local water and produce renewable energy. They'll be so wonderful that it'll almost be like living in Lothlorien.
At least, these are the claims of the Aprilli Design Studio, where one of the vertical garden concepts was worked up. Dubbed Urban Skyfarm, the folks at Aprilli conceived a 525-foot "living" skyscraper capable of housing over 1.5 million square feet of common space. Not all the space would be used to grow food. Pathways and a high-flying skybridge would be integrated into the design so that visitors could meander about the gardens, hydroponic decks and orchards.
Beneath the skyfarm, farmer's markets could bump shoulders with processing plants and water recycling facilities. Above, the Skyfarm would host 34,445 square feet of solar panels and wind turbines — enough to operate the entire structure as well as a second, neighboring hydroponic farm.
If Aprilli's claim that the world population could rise by 3 billion new people by the year 2050 is accurate, our cities are going to be practically bursting with new residents. If we're going to feed all those new mouths, maybe massive vertical farms straight out of The Lord of the Rings really could be our salvation.