A Tree Assembles in Brooklyn


Agriculture is arguable the key development in the rise of human civilization. From relying on hunting and gathering, the science of cultivating soil and farming animals catapulted humankind forward - unlocking profound prosperity and opportunity. However, the early version of agriculture is a far cry from today’s industrialized counterpart - which increasingly is revealing its dire challenges. The majority of our planet’s precious freshwater supply is today being poured into agriculture. Meanwhile, WHO estimates that 844 million people today lack basic drinking-water service, and that by 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas. Modern agriculture also demands significant land areas - with an estimated 40% of our planet’s land area used for farming - and growing. As such, farming is the single most powerful driver of deforestation and loss of biodiversity. As modern mankind also expects to be able to enjoy apples, tomatoes, and avocados every day of the year, agriculture’s needs for supportive transportation and logistical infrastructure is colossal - with corresponding colossal environmental-, and economical ramifications.

World population is expected to increase to over 10 billion by 2050, and agriculture as we know it today will need to almost double in size to accommodate this growth. However, almost 80% of the planet's farmable land has already been used

Project developed with Framlab.
During the 1990s, NASA started experimenting with growing plants and vegetables in mist environments, rather than soil - a process called aeroponics. For an organization such as NASA, there are significant advantages of implementing these systems into their space programs. Water usage, fertilizer usage, and pesticide usage can be reduced by drastic measures - while crop yield per area is significantly higher than geoponic cultivation. As these growth environments also allow the plant roots to absorb much higher levels of minerals and vitamins, the grown vegetables pack a stronger nutritional punch.
Glasir (meaning gleaming) was a majestic tree described in Norse mythology as “the most beautiful among gods and men”. This proposal does however, not only reference the aesthetic qualities of the plant. With the help of technology, it offers up - similarly to its biological cousin - a range of environmental and social benefits - such as harvesting of solar energy, absorption of pollutants from the air, and the collection of rainwater. It also intends to serve an important role for its local community - creating a place for people to meet, play, and relax; strengthening the distinct character of the neighborhood; encouraging local pride. Its key attribute however, is its ability to provide food. Each of its modular element are aeroponic greenhouses capable of producing plants, vegetables, and fruits. Each greenhouse chamber uses intelligent magnetic connection points to connect to the trunk structure for water circulation access, and optimize the growth conditions for the ecosystem. Utilizing drone transit technology, each module can quickly relocate from one trunk structure to another to capitalize on better environmental/climatic opportunities; return to its owner/subscriber (household, business, school, etc.), or return to service maintenance facility.
The modular nature of the project gives the system great flexibility. With a mere 4 x 4 feet footprint, the structure can be deployed anywhere in the city where a regular tree can be planted - on the sidewalk, in a backyard, in a public park, etc. The system also leverages the power of sharing economy, as each tree or "branch unit" can be shared among subscribers - maximizing the available resources and minimizing down time. As each structure easily can "grow" or "shrink" - with the help of drone transit, each tree structure can serve a varying range of subscriber/owner groups. This also allows each structure to take on an almost infinite set of different configurations/appearances. By grouping several structures together, the project can even take on larger, public functions, as a new form of urban community gardens. As such, the system is capable of bringing new life to vacant, urban spaces.
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