Incorporating green living into tightly-packed urban environments sometimes requires thinking outside of the box. Take a traditional farm, for instance. In a city, an average-sized farm could span several city blocks. This is just too much space.

So, why not build up? This is the question that designers at Aprilli Design Studios in Seoul, South Korea are asking. Recently the team devised a potentially groundbreaking new building concept that could place sustainable food production right in the heart of a city— a skyscraper farm, called Skyfarm.

A massive tree-like structure, Skyfarm calls for a large root area at the base and trunk which would provide stability for the farm above. Skyfarm would contain eight vertical branches, each supporting at least 60 to 70 individual farming units. The system would combine LED lighting and hydroponics instead of soil, which would mean a lighter, cleaner and more efficient growing system. The structure would also rely heavily on sunlight, as plants that require large amounts of air and sunlight would be placed at the top of the Skyfarm while plants that require less would be placed near the bottom.

Skyfarm would provide the necessary vertical space to grow crops while also providing a wide range of other benefits for the surrounding population:

  • Air purification: Plants are adept at absorbing a variety of chemicals and producing oxygen. Placing a large amount of plants in a dense urban setting would provide cleaner air for those living and working around them.
  • Water purification: Many plants, like cilantro for instance, are well-known for their water purification qualities. It is in this way that plants can act as biosorbents, removing toxic heavy metals from rainwater before it reaches the ground.
  • Public green space: Placing a Skyfarm in the middle of a city would be a constant reminder to live more sustainably. This would help the “green” movement flourish in urban environments. An innovation like this would be invaluable for the U.S. considering that approximately 80 percent of the American population lives in urban areas, according to research from the U.S. Census.
  • Energy production: Besides producing food, Skyfarm would also help produce a variety of alternative energy that could be used to power homes and vehicles.

Would you support a Skyfarm in your local city? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!