A Barcelona-based firm called JAPA is designing a system of floating farms that could help feed extremely dense urban populations such as Singapore.
The city, and others like her, suffers from an extreme lack of real estate (therefore, agriculture) and must import vast volumes of food to feed its citizens. Singapore has tried to reclaim some land from its surrounding waters but it hasn’t proven sufficient to cover all the uses land could have.
Hence, Floating Responsive Architecture (FRA) is a system of tall loopy farm towers partially inspired by floating fish farms. The towers are shaped for maximum sunlight exposure, minimises horizontal space and should easily fit in local harbours. The design allows it to work not just in Singapore but also Hong Kong or various similarly land-starved coastal cities.
Food, food everywhere
The designers envision the towers will be connected to the city via a network of sensors communicating in real time. The network would monitor food consumption or expenditure and crop. Therefore, if consumers were buying less bananas than produced, the farms will immediately reduce production of bananas.
Javier Ponce, principal from JAPA, says the system will aim for zero waste. It would indeed be a huge step above current land-locked agriculture that still suffers significant wastage.
At the moment, JAPA is hoping to collaborate with the Singaporean government and various local food producers to try to make the farms a reality. They will need to hammer out logistics like how much energy would such a system need and how much food could it actually produce. “A set of prototypes on a smaller scale would be an interesting starting point,” says Ponce.
The design may prove vital to sustain current urban food consumption. As many publications like NatGeo has highlighted we’re already in the middle of a global food supply crisis.