by Gerry Mak in New Eco on Friday 11 April 2008

As China’s cities, infrastructure, and economy boomed under the reforms post 1979, Deng Xiaoping insisted that agriculture, industry, and urban areas should all be close together, so that no materials needed to be transported very far. This wreaked havoc on China’s ecology and environment. In the West, however, the circumstances of development have been different, and it’s increasingly the consensus that urban space can and should be used for purposes traditionally relegated to rural farmland. This is the concept behind the collaboration between designer Chris Jacobs and Dr. Dickson Despommier of Columbia University, who have designed skyscraper farms that could provide sustenance to the massive urban populations of the future, who may not have access to any un-urbanized land at all.