Development Magazine Spring 2010

Development - Ownership

First Look - Buildings That Grow Food

Urban planners are considering vertical farms as a way of generating revenue from obsolete, abandoned or condemned sites.

Given the current economy, adaptive re-use of existing buildings is the new darling. Some older properties are refreshed with small retailers looking to save money, some become art galleries for starving artists, still others are just remade into more modern space for workers or residents. But there’s another, less common use – growing food.

Demographics predict that the earth will host 9.5 billion people by 2050. Since each person requires a minimum of 1,500 calories a day, civilization will have to cultivate another 2.1 billion acres if farming continues to be practiced as it is today. Most large cities have obsolete, abandoned or condemned sites that could benefit from such a potential revenue-generating project. New York City, for example, has the former Floyd Bennett Field naval base, a 2.1-square-mile tract abandoned in 1972, and Governors Island, a 172-acre site that the U.S. government recently gave back to the city.

According to the Scientific American, a one-square block farm 30 stories high could yield as much food as 2,400 outdoor acres, with less subsequent spoilage. Existing hydroponic greenhouses such as Eurofresh Farms in Willcox, Ariz., provide a basis for prototype vertical farms now being considered by urban planners in cities worldwide.


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From the Archives: Development Ownership Articles from the Previous Issue

Sustainable Development Award

ProLogis and Forest City Covington Named 2009 Sustainable Development Award Winners 

ProLogis and Forest City Covington have been recognized as Sustainable Development Award winners, an annual honor given by NAIOP. Both companies were honored during NAIOP’s October meeting, Development ’09: The Annual Meeting for Commercial Real Estate, in Chicago.

Cool Springs V office building

Highwoods Properties: The People, the Plan, the Balance Sheet 

For Highwoods' success in adapting to changing market conditions, its quality of products and services, social consciousness, leadership in the real estate and general business communities and commitment and involvement in NAIOP, Highwoods has been selected as the Developer of the Year for 2009.