Floating Farms Proposed for City Sustainability

Published Oct 11, 2015 7:16 PM by Wendy Laursen

The world population is predicted to grow to 8.3 billion in 2030 and to 9.1 billion in 2050. By 2030, food demand is predicted to increase by 50 percent (70 percent by 2050). 

An architect in Spain has come up with a concept that he feels will help meet this demand: instead of producing more farms on land, he wants them to float in the sea near the world’s cities.

“Facing the current challenges of cities growing, land consumption and climate change, I believe projects like the Smart Floating Farms can help change some of the existing paradigms which have led us to the present situation and open new possibilities which can improve the quality of human life and the environment,” says Javier F. Ponce, architect, founder and CEO of Forward Thinking Architecture.

Based on a multi-layered floating farm design, which combines aquaculture (fish), hydroponics, soil-based crops and photovoltaics to harness solar power, Ponce believes his solution can bring food where it is most needed. He says, suitable cities include New York, Chicago, Seattle, Tokyo, Singapore, Mumbai, Jakarta, Cairo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sao Paulo, Doha, Osaka, Bangkok, Shenzhen, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Istanbul, Los Angeles, Montreal, Jeddah, Kuwait city, Seoul, Karachi, Sydney and more.

“This is not science fiction,” says Ponce. “It is a serious and viable solution. It is not meant to solve all of humanity’s hunger problems or to replace existing traditional agriculture. This is not the idea at all. The driver behind the project is to open a new initiative which can be complementary and compatible with other existing production methods in order to help reduce food risk associated problems in different areas of the globe.”

The concept calls for a top level on the floating platform that integrates sophisticated computer power and green energy production facilities (photovoltaics combined with skylights) to generate power for a lower level hydroponic farm growing crops. The waste byproducts from these crops would be used to feed fishes on a third level. The waste from the fish farm would be recycled as fertilizer for the hydroponic farm, thus creating a self-sufficient cycle, says Ponce. 

The facilities would be protected from waves by a series of inflatable wave protectors.

Ponce says the concept is designed with well tested materials, technologies and systems that are already in use around the globe.