November 2017
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Vertical Farming to Feed Our City and Our Planet

vertical farm

Dr. Dickson Despommier, panelist at the upcoming 2nd Annual Jane Jacobs Forum Re-Imagining New York: Designing Urban Farms to Feed our City, recently spoke to Tamara Coombs of MAS about why he sees urban “vertical farms” as key to the future, not just of cities, but of the planet.

Ten years ago, Columbia University microbiology professor Despommier began investigating different approaches to agriculture that would feed the additional 3 billion people that are estimated to be born in the next 50 years. This research project, which he conducted with the help of his students, has grown into a popular website The Vertical Farm Project, an op-ed in The New York Times and a new book coming out next year, and garnered attention from municipalities (Newark, NJ), architecture and engineering companies, and the Obama administration along the way.

An expert panel, featuring Dickson Despommier, and moderated by Neal Peirce of the Washington Post, will convene for the 2nd annual Jane Jacobs Forum next Tuesday, November 3, 6:30 p.m., at The John E. Reeves Great Hall at F.I.T., W. 28th St. to discuss the question: Can New York, a city with a growing population and shrinking acreage, eventually grow enough food within its boundaries to become self-sufficient? Tickets for this event are sold out, but members of the public may be admitted on the night in the event of cancellations and no-shows.

Author and activist Jane Jacobs believed in the future of cities and in common sense solutions to urban problems. MAS’ annual Jane Jacobs Forum brings together expert participants to challenge traditional assumptions about fundamental urban issues and propose innovative, yet sensible, ideas for the future. This year’s Forum is held in collaboration with the Penn Institute for Urban Research, and is made possible through the generous support of the Rockefeller Foundation.

After the event, a video, audio podcast, and a full transcript will be posted here, so please check back on or around Monday, November 9.

Related to the forum is the exhibition Re-Imagining Cities: Urban Design After the Age of Oil — currently on display at MAS through Friday, December 4. Visit for more details.