(via ASLA's The Dirt blog)
The building above is the proposed concept design for Agro-Housing, Knafo Klimor's winning entry in the the 2nd International Architecture Competition for Sustainable Housing. (Here's the write-up, more illustrations, a pdf presentation and a video tour.)
Basically it's a 12-story residential building with apartment units wrapping around a vertical greenhouse core. Vertical farming is not a new concept but previous proposals were basically industrial farms in skyscraper forms. There are though, very good reasons for moving agricultural production into vertical formats.
This is the first proposal that mixes housing with agriculture. (How's that for mixed-use?)
From the website:
Advantages of this innovative building typology:The proposal intrigues me and I wonder if this can help finance vertical low-cost or affordable housing in Metro Manila? Can the greenhouse produce commercial quantities of organic produce, enough at least to provide shared income for the apartment residents (perhaps as a cooperative)? If this was replicated on a large scale (like EcoBlocks), would it be viable enough to interest an investment from agro-industry?
- Produces food for tenants and the surrounding community.
- Produces organic and healthy food that is disease and fertilizer free
- Creates an abundance of crops for self-consumption and sale for the neighbors.
- Requires no special skill set for greenhouse operation
- Allows for flexibility and independence for the greenhouse working hours.
- Creates extra income and new jobs for the inhabitants in the building.
- Creates a sense of community and softens the crisis of migration to cities.
- Preserves rural traditions and social order.
- Creates sustainable housing conditions and reduces air and soil pollution.
- Improves the building’s microclimate and reduction of its energy usage (cooling and heating)
- Uses water from the existing high water table and recycles grey water for gardening.
Meanwhile, those crazy kids from MIT have proposed a carbon-free, stackable rental car.
"The Smart Cities group at the MIT Media Lab is working on two low-cost electric vehicles that it hopes will revolutionize mass transit and help alleviate pollution. Next week, the group will unveil a prototype of its foldable electric scooter at the EICMA Motorcycle Show, in Milan. A prototype for the team's foldable electric car, called the City Car, is slated to follow next year.
The MIT group sees the vehicles as the linchpin in a strategy that aims to mitigate pollution with electric power, expand limited public space by folding and stacking vehicles like shopping carts, and alleviate congestion by letting people rent and return the vehicles to racks located near transportation hubs, such as train stations, airports, and bus depots.
"We're looking at urban personal mobility in a much more sustainable way than the private automobile provides," says William Mitchell, director of the Smart Cities research group.
This will be fantastic paired with Zipcar's model of shared-car ownership (read: car membership plans). I've been a Zipcar member for the last 4 years and I find it indispensable. I get to use cars without having to worry about parking or maintenance. All for a reasonable hourly rental rate that covers gas and insurance.
I've wondered if a model like this could work in Makati and Ortigas. The big worry of course is carnapping, but the technology actually tracks the vehicles which could be a bit of a deterrent. You can also price in the cost of theft insurance into the business model. It could work. Plus, if MIT's cars finally get to market, then you have the added insurance of easy to spot cars not available in the retail market. (e.g.- no place to sell the car -unless, of course, you break it up).