Building another skyscraper in the middle of New York may not seem like the most environmentally friendly thing to do. That is of course, unless said skyscraper is capable of providing a sprawling urban populous with food, the reuse of natural resources and biodegradeable waste.
The Dragonfly is the brainchild of Belgian company Vincent Callebaut Architectures and underlines the future potential of vertical farming that was first realized by designs such as Dubai’s seawater vertical farm and Eric Vergne's Dystopian Farm concept.
The unique approach taken by Callebaut begins with the design, which mimics the wings of a dragonfly both for aesthetic merit and to facilitate the use of renewable energy resources such as solar, wind and tide-turbine power. In addition, the space between the pair of "wings" would use solar energy production to accumulate warm air within the structure during winter months, and the design of the spine would efficiently separate and recirculate waste products from plants, humans beings and animals.
A 600 meter high vertical complex would contain 132 floors accommodating 28 different agricultural fields, including housing, office space and laboratories as well as orchards, farms and production rooms.
The importance of research into this area is highlighted by the UNDP (United Nations Development Program) who argues that by 2025, worldwide urban population have risen from 3.1 billion to 5.5 billion. The ability of an ecological city to be self-sustainable and to reduce waste and pollution by reuse of natural resources and biodegradable waste would therefore be an essential part of a stable, ecological future.
Research by the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) in the US suggests that organic agriculture could eventually provide enough food to nourish the planet if developed on a large scale, and though any such project would require substantial initial investment, the long-term effect would seem to far outweigh the short-term cost.