The potential of aquaponics for food production in the cities of the future
Junge, Ranka; (2014). The potential of aquaponics for food production in the cities of the future. In: B. Kompare; N. Atanasova; T. Griessler Bulc; K. Jarni (Hg.). Cities of the future. Course Material, 9th and 10th June 2014.. Ljubljana: Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering.
Urban farming is becoming a buzzword nowadays. It started as a grassroots movement, and entered the political agenda since early 2000. To establish urban farming on a sustainable scale beyond the pilot projects that seem to flourish in nearly every city with some self-respect, several components are necessary: social, economic, ecological. Visionary and provocative schemes such as Vertical farms (Despommier 2010) and utopian renders by architects like Callebaut (DD 14 New Worlds, 2005) are widely disseminated and evidence public interest, but do not provide practical tools to address the situation with the technologies that are available now.
While recent accentuations seem to focus on social aspects, the scientific base for these endeavours should be strengthened as well. If food is to be grown in the city, it should be of high quality, not loaded with pollutants of both urban and agricultural origins. Innovations are required that simplify successful operations in urban gardening and enable cost-effective urban farming, while making these products safe for human consumption: new planting techniques, new varieties of produce, biological pest control, irrigation techniques, and integration with existing building infrastructures. Aquaponics has the potential to contribute to all these aspects.