The issue of food production in an arcology
I am very interested to entertain discussion of various hydroponic (means "water working) systems, which for the Sola Roof concepts are part of our Blue Green solutions for sustainable design. Sola Roof is a transparent building construction system that uses the entire building envelope to actively capture and utilize the total solar spectrum. We are substantially advanced over passive solar design and previous systems for thermal storage in solid thermal mass (like the sub soil, rock beds, mass building components) because our concept is based on a Liquid Thermal Mass system and the active circulation of a Cooling Liqiud to the building envelope.
The use of Mass Algae Culture and Plant Production technologies within the controlled climate environment of the transparent Sola Roof is the Green part of the Blue Green solution. This is a good system for a "horizontal" Arcology but we also have a proposal under development for a 7 story Eco Sphere for higher human occupancy density and these could be clustered or strung along a linear branching Sola Roof/Archology. The horizontal component can be linear and thus also serve the mobility purposes of the community. I visualize the branches or web of linear structure to support an elevated strand of enclosed passages for personal mobility - excluding the automobile as an inappropriate technology. This is a "highway" like no one has seen before.
All of the structures of the linear highway and the linear structure as well as interconnected Eco Sphere or other "nodes" of clusttered habitat would use the transparent envelope design and would produce the food, water and energy needs of the Arcology. Unlike the structures that have been built at Arcosanti, most structures would be extremely light wieght because the building envelope is fabricated from the the transparent Sola Fabric materials.
It was proven in the 80's that enclosed growing with artificial lighting is a dead end. General Electric and Kraft both spent multi millions to come to that conclusion. The GE "Genaponics" project was mothballed but the sold to Control Data Corporation and Norris, the owner spent more millions in further investigation. The NASA programs called CELSS are the most recent in depth investigation of the role of plants in completely closed ecological systems (as we would hope to see in an Arcology) and the results are clear that an eco design that uses the solar spectrum of energy in an efficient process is fully capable of sustainably supporting life without a limit on duration. Therefore the growing systems that are established in the dark (caves, boxes, earth sheltered homes, buildings with conventional opaque cladding) are doomed to failure - but projects that use fully the natural sunlight; that are open and transparent will prosper.
Daniel DeLorme <daniel(at)dan42.com> wrote:
The issue of food production in an arcology has popped up a few times in the past, and I remembered reading a few years ago an article about an Isreali company having developed a fully-automated hydroponic farm-in-a-box. So I did a few searches on google and finally managed to find them: http://www.organitech.com/
Take a look at the streaming video page, it contains a pretty good overview of the system (although forget about objectivity).
Now, *that* kind of system is exactly what I envision for arcologies. Since natural sunlight will always be at a premium in an arco, with a system like this you can just order a bunch of big containers and put them in the places where sunlight can't reach.
Site of the month. Arcosanti http://www.arcosanti.org/