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Mithun Urban Farms

by Jacob Resneck in Culture on 17 September 2007

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As myopic urban planners and developers pave over rich topsoil to create giant-box stores and auto malls in their pursuit of easy tax revenue and profits, a partnership of forward-looking architects have hatched a scheme to comingle agriculture with urban development

Mithun, a consortium of cutting-edge architects in Seattle, recognize that when real estate and resources become scant, the solution is to build up. Their idea is simple: vertical, urban farms in which production equivalent to an acre of farmland is condensed footprint of a .72 inner-city acre.

"Constantly developing creative and challenging ideas is the best way to uncover innovative solutions to today's problems," states CEO Bert Gregory of Mithun in a news release touting the concept.

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Grain could be germinated for animal feed; rooftop greenhouses could produce fresh vegetables; incubators could raise egg-laying hens; Methun's innovative design won Best of Show in the Cascadia Region Green Building Council's Living Building Challenge.

Ambitious, though not entirely impossible in years to come, the stated goal is no less than to integrate crops and livestock into an urban skyline. While the architects admit these ideas aren't likely to be realized any time soon, it's unconventional ideas like these that will be necessary to support a human population projected by the U.S. Census Bureau to rise to more than 9.4 billion by 2050.

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