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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dragonfly, A Metabolic Farm for New York City in The Future

Dragonfly vertical farm is a concept urban farm specially designed for the Roosevelt Island of New York City which will reduce the problems associated with food shortage, mileage and connection between the producers and consumers. Because of the densely packed city civilization, this farm has been designed vertically, spanning 132 floors and 28 different agricultural fields for accommodating dragonflies aiming to produce fruit, grains, vegetables, meat and dairy. This Dragonfly wing shaped superstructure features wind and solar power producing capability and includes housing, offices, research labs and communal areas separated from farms, orchards and production rooms. Throughout the glass and steel set of wings, animal and plant farming is arranged as well as soil nutrient levels are maintained properly.

[Press Release]



The world of fast-food and frozen food is over! The urban keen interest of the beginning of our Century turns toward the garden flat bringing back the countryside in our overcrowded cities fighting from now on for a community urban agriculture able to contribute to the durability of the city and to rethink the food production.

On the roofs, terraces, balconies, in the hollow of the non-built public spaces, in the interior yards and the suspended greenhouses, the eco-warrior aspires to escape from its competitive and consumeristic universe imposed by the laws of the market. He desires to cultivate its immediate landscape so as to better take root in the ground by creating his own ecologic and alimentary biodiversity. The consumer becomes from then on producer and the garden inhabitant !

From the Parisian « worker gardens » to the « community gardens » of New York going though Muscovite « vegetable squares », eight hundred million of urban farmers, i.e. more than one human being out of ten, consume nowadays chlorophyllous products from these cosmopolitan kitchen gardens. These new gardens, aware of the emergency to reduce our fuel consumption and the necessity to modify our behaviour facing the climatic changes, decrease thus their environmental impact and build eco-responsible cities on a community way.


According to the PNUD (Programme of the United Nations for the Development), the worldwide urban population will go from 3.1 billion of inhabitants in 2009 up to 5.5 billion of inhabitants within 2025. Looking for a positive energetic assessment, the contemporary city aims within fifteen years at producing cleanly and intensively more energy than it consumes so as to pack this urban exodus! It develops therefore the urban agriculture to become food self-sufficient by recycling at the same time its liquid waste by phyto-purification, its solid waste in fertilizers by composting and by producing energy by biomass, photovoltaic cells and other renewable energies (thermic solar, photovoltaic solar, wind, tide-turbine energies…).

In order to avoid the asphixiation of the planet and the feeding of its 9 billion of inhabitants within 2050, it deals thus with reinventing the traditional energetic pattern between the city and the countryside between western countries, emerging countries and developing countries. This sums up as following: on the one hand import of natural and food resources, and on the other hand export of waste and pollution. The ecologic city aims at reintegrating the farming function on the urban scale by emphasizing the role of the urban agriculture in the use and the reuse of natural resources and biodegradable waste so as to close the loop of ecologic flows.

The urban agriculture can feed the city without any pesticide or chemical fungicide (whose toxicity is proved on the human being : cancer, sterility…), and make it less food dependant of its backcountry or other regions of the world. Organising the distribution of fresh products in short circuits, that means linked directly with the consumer, the urban agriculture complete thus the traditional agriculture. In addition to the nutritive quality of the produced and consumed food, the urban agriculture is also a growth lever of the urban unemployment market and the local economy. It is used directly as a social link in the conciliation of the primary needs of the newcomers with the challenge of their integration in the life of the city, fighting thus against poverty and exclusion. On the sanitary level, this farm approach presents also an interesting potential for the decontamination of polluted grounds and undergrounds as well as for he purification of the polluted atmosphere in CO2.

Due to the fuel crisis and climatical change, the rural agriculture of the western countries must answer to the worldwide food crisis of the developing countries and mainly Africa. Its role is from now on to produce (with an increase estimated of 60% within 2050) all the foodstuffs transportable by boat such as cereals or corn. This is based on the evolution of the science and the most advanced biotechnologies. In addition to this nutritious role, the rural agriculture is newly challenged to recycle its own culture rebus for the greenchemistry in order to produce the bio fuel called “second generation fuel” using the energy of non-consumable materials from the plants, that means fibres such as celluloses.


The architecture has to be in the service of this new agriculture and to design this new social desire in this context of ecologic mutation and food autonomy! The Dragonfly project suggests therefore building a prototype of urban farm offering around a mixed programme of housing, offices and laboratories in ecological engineering, farming spaces which are vertically laid out in several floors and partly cultivated by its own inhabitants. This vertical farm sets up all the sustainable applications in organic agriculture based on the intensive production varied according to the rhythm of the seasons. This nourishing agriculture is furthermore in favour of the reuse of biodegradable waste and the keeping of energy and renewable resources for a planning of ecosystemic densification.

Floor by floor, the tower superposes not only stock farming ensuring the production of meat, milk, poultry and eggs but also farming grounds, true biological reactors continuously regenerated with organic humus. It diversifies the cultivated varieties to avoid the washing of stratums of soft substratum. Thus, the cultures succeed one another vertically according to their agronomical ability to provide some elements of the ground between the essences that are sowed and harvested. The tower, true living organism, becomes thus metabolic and self-sufficient in water, energy, and bio-fertilizing. Nothing is lost; everything is recyclable to a continuous auto-feeding!

The architecture of Dragonfly prototype suggests reinventing the vertical building (that outlined the urbanistic booming of New York City since the 19th Century) as structurally and functionally as ecologically and energetically.

To ensure the social diversity and a permanent life cycle (24h/24) in the tower, the mixed programmation is mainly laid out around two poles of housing and work places. Around housings, offices and research laboratories as well as the most private to the most public agricultural and leisure spaces are designed in gardens, kitchen gardens, orchards, meadows, rice fields, farms and suspended fields. The distribution of flows is made around a true safe spine spreading in loop the numerous elevators, the goods elevators and stair wells serving all the levels by separating simultaneously the inputs and the outputs recycled from plants, animals and human beings.


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