Abandoning Malls For Vertical Farms

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Time magazine once described malls as “pleasure domes with parking.” Malls in general, and strip malls in particular, are ubiquitous in suburban America. Built in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, during rapid suburban expansion and rapidly increasing car usage, for better or worse, they were once a sign of progress. Now, a major enclosed mall hasn’t been built in the United States since 2006 and many are completely abandoned. According to Don Wood, the CEO of Federal Reality Investment Trust, even the process of knocking down or converting a mall could take as long as two decades.

So, the structures may be here to stay, but they don’t have to just be a homage to what once was. Abandoned malls and strip malls could be easily and efficiently converted into vertical farms.

  • where are strip malls headed in the short term?
  • why we should grow food in mixed use structures and think more about their impact on local economies?
  • does it make sense to convert a strip mall to a vertical farm?

Abandoning Malls

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Famous New York Landmark Re-Imagined As Lofted Greenhouse

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The winners of an international competition to revive a decaying World’s Fair landmark have re-envisioned it as a garden lofted high above ground.

Architects Sarah Wan, 29, and Aidan Doyle, 34, both of Seattle, were awarded $3,000 for “Hanging Meadows,” their reimagining of the New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the open-air circular structure with futuristic towers originally designed by architect Philip Johnson for the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair.

Seeing images like this remind me of what got me excited about vertical farming in the first place. The potential to turn cities into lush, productive environments through building integrated agriculture or even dedicated structures is tantalizing. While it may not be the most realistic structure in the world (a critique of that here), it certainly makes a statement.

Credit to original WSJ article for image and the opening paragraphs.

Plant trees, live longer

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After controlling for income, education, and age, scientists showed that an additional ten trees on a given block corresponded to a one-per-cent increase in how healthy nearby residents felt. “To get an equivalent increase with money, you’d have to give each household in that neighborhood ten thousand dollars—or make people seven years younger,” says University of Chicago Psychology Professor Marc Berman.

Plant

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