I looked at the Vertical Farm website and the PDF description and the essay by Despommier. The research on the difficulties and challenges of agriculture is sound and very useful and the documentation of the health problems and ecological damage done by conventional agriculture, forestry and fisheries is very useful. The awareness of the status of the conventional greenhouse industry is marginal and the challenges facing this method of production with current technology is not even considered. Many assumptions are made that "indoor" production is the solution - fortunately that is exactly the solution offered by Sola Roof. Given our ability to enable the vision presented by Dickson Despommier I would like to develop some interaction with this group. We can add substance to the concept of the transparent building envelope and solar controlled environment systems needed by only mentioned in passing.

Some people will see the vision as a transformed urban lifestyle (the Vertical Farm) while some see the vision as a new rural paradigm (GlobalVillages) but more likely there will be a middle ground. Since I have approached the subject more from the point of view of the greenhouse as a controlled environment then my Eco Living? concepts are not strongly linked to the countryside - I look to transform the urban space where most people will live. Most of our urban space is lower density then the kind of city vision presented by Vertical Farm - 30 story buildings are not so adaptable as low rise structures that have more horizontal surface area for capture and utilization of sunlight. Living buildings can have vertical height and growing space - especially with combined use for human habitation but I believe that this reaches an optimum at about 5 floor levels. Going higher is okay. but it would be for other functions in Eco Cities?. The density of population in these urban centers could not be completely self reliant and therefore must be balanced by other areas of low population density that are dedicated to controlled environment food, fiber and energy production surpluses. Ideally these areas would be developed in surrounding bands of more horizontally distributed production that are close to the Eco City? centers so that transportation is minimized.

The EcoSphere concept that we are developing for an optimum human population density that would be self sufficient as a residential habitat that is fully equipped with the Controlled Ecological Life Support Systems (CELSS). As you are aware we have been selected as a core design concept for the Post Tsunami Visions initiative and we would appreciate a wide collaboration to create a new pattern for sustainable reconstruction. There are so many systems that must be brought together - a synthesis that has never been done before - that we need all communities teams and individuals to join with us in this collaborative effort. The Eco Sphere will be a "high profile" Ecotourism development that will enable a village based Family Business to operate as an EcoGuestHome for visitors that would like to spend a week or two in "Educultural" exchange of learning and teaching and providing assistance to rebuild the economy of these devastated areas (the first projects are predominantly Muslim villages that have support from a London based Islamic business community) while building friendships and cross cultural understanding.

Thus Eco Sphere project is an appropriate urban structure that can fit well within both Eco Villages and Eco Cities? while the "greenhouse" version of the Sola Roof structures is a land based concept. However, I strongly recommend the adaptation of most building roofs - for new construction and retrofit gradually of existing buildings - can provide all the renewable resources that our urban life need to become self sufficient and self reliant. I like the Arcology concept that avoids sprawl and builds around people rather than the automobile. As proposed in the essay by Dickson, the human dependence on land can actually be reduced even while the population and consumption increases and good health is possible for all.

Our Sola Roof concepts have multiple growing systems that exploit fully the available Photosynthesis Active Radiation (PAR) and this goal, would by itself provide the life support that populations need. The additional vertical growing areas that are within these Solar Controlled Environments will add a further percentage of productivity - perhaps 10 to 50% - but building wall area is not primary unless the buildings have an optimum height and spacing between the buildings. These optimum configurations and planning parameters need to be studied in detail so that project design can be guided by "best practices". At the moment I am suggesting an Eco Sphere (maximum efficiency of envelope to enclosed space and structural simplicity for lowest cost) that would be 5 floor levels of vertical space with the upper floor (1855 ft2 or 168 M2) or particularly specialized for the Sola Roof Garden concept and which would also provide a large vertical growing area surrounding all "sides" of the interior living space for a total of over . The growing space (800 M2 of horizontal and vertical area) and living space (672 M2) is all within the solar controlled environment of the building and the Mass Algae Culture operates within the closed atmosphere of the cavity space that is within the building envelope (about 1200 M2) so that the algae can be cultured in a clean and CO 2 enriched environment for maximum productivity and will bloom in the below grade culture tank that also forms part of the Liquid Thermal Mass system.

We need multiple design teams to support all the various aspects and subsystems that would be brought together by this project. This cross community collaboration is the work that the OpenCoop project would intend to enhance and support. It would be wonderful to gain the support of some teams working in Germany or that are multi national and I invite Dickson to let us know if they can help to build our Open Source Disclosure knowledge base that will be accessible to everyone. We are working together to build patterns that can be replicated and as a Global community we support individuals, families and teams by providing DIY methods that are affordable and adaptable to all cultures and climates.

I am also including a copy of this message for Gary Alexander of the Open University and Saffa Riffat, Chair in Sustainable Energy and Head of the Institute of Building Technology of School of the Built Environment at the University of Nottingham. I found that the Vertical Farm concept presents the most well documented argument for the transition of agriculture as we know it as a land based technology to a new CELSS type life support that is sustainable and is based in our human habitat - not "on the land" but within our controlled environment "Arcology" structures

Franz, thanks again for the effort that you are making to add to our network - together we will have the capacity to BUILD a sustainable future!

Regards, Rick

Franz Nahrada wrote:

Rick, Jeff,

I got positive feedback from the Bergmann people in Germany. Frithjof is hard to reach but I will bug him about the contacts. Did you once again try to phone him, Jeff?

Rick, one of the key concepts they use is vertical farming. I wonder if you are familiar with this:


I think its out of coincidence they made it core concept. Sola Roof is much more suitable for Frithjofs plans. So please also keep on trying to get in touch with them.

there is quite a lot of NW projects in Germany and we want to push them to learn about Solaroof. Maybe by teaming up with Juergen Kleinwaechter more things could be achieved at once.

look at some of those: http://www.newwork-newculture.net/projekte.html