We have business districts, and we have agriculture. Agriculture takes up a lot of land and resources, and agriculture is, in fact, the most damaging industry worldwide when it comes to environmental impact. So imagine combining the business district with agriculture. What you have, as a result, is “vegitecture.” Big skyscrapers covered with leaves and vegitation.
Architect Ken Yeang is the world’s leading vegitect, and his designs use walls of plants, solar panels, and the structure and of the building itself to collect water and catch cooling air currents. It enables the building to catch its own energy and rely less on outside sources, like power lines. He even talks of “vertical farms.” That is, your food grows on your wall. You go out, scale it, and pick out a nice tomato.
This is a Ken Yeang concept building, and in Paris he’s already engineered green walls that provide natural cooling to the city, and suck up a lot of the carbon output while they’re at it. Even now, NASA uses plants to clean the air on space shuttle missions, and you know how you can feed plants garbage water and they don’t seem to mind at all? I mean, provided there aren’t any heavy metals or chemicals in it, just good old smelly organic garbage water. So yes, they can also be used to recycle used water by buildings.
Concrete is a material that bounces heat off and makes the outside that much more sweltering than it already is. Plants soak up heat and cool things down, so people can turn down their air conditioners. There just doesn’t seem to be any downs to this idea. If you grow food on buildings, then people stop starving, you save land, you save energy, and you live in an urban jungle. Wave of the future? Just one of them. Surf’s coming in…