The Smart-City-Food paradox.
FAO predicts that by 2050 the planet earth will be inhabited by 9.6 billion people ( 37 % more than the actual world’s population ). This huge growth of the world population will force us to face a series of problems that are already demanding our attentions. Housing, energy production, waste management and transportation are the most common topics that moderns cities are already facing.
However, while huge attentionis given to initiatives focused on modernizing infrastructure and data management inside the cities, a much smaller attentionis given to the strengthening of the national/world agricolture sector which, as reported by the FAO, will have to increase the food’s production by 70% in the next 30 years.
The gap between the fast development of the “smart-cities” and the much slower growth of the so called “precision agricolture” is today at the root of a paradox known as “smar-city-food-paradox”. This paradox basically underline the irony of how today’s citizens are everyday more connected to infrastructures and inanimate things inside the cities, but increasingly disconnected with nature and everything it concerns.
The agricultural sector will have to face enormous challenges in order to reach the future world food’s demand, however, the average citizen doesn’t seems to be interested or aware of that.
The limited availability ofarable lands, the increasing need for fresh water (agriculture consumes 70 per cent of the world’s fresh water supply) and others less predictable factors like the impact of climate change, (which according to a recent report by the UN could lead to changes to seasonal events in the life cycle of plant and animals) may transform the future challenges of the agricolture sector into gigantic and unsolvable feats.
A deep change in the way we think about agricolture has to be done in order to face and beat these future challenge. The old idea of farming andurban life as different and separate realities has to be broke.
Some interesting experiment are already being tested, like the so called “Vertical Farming” , in the city of Singapore (The idea is that crops are grown indoors in tall buildings)
Other experiments have been made in Tokyo, New Orleans, Vancouver and New York. Furthermore, interesting companies such as AereoFarms,Aquaspy,Blue River or kick-starter’s program are now applying modern technology to urban agricolture.
It is undoubted that the benefits are extensive (the development ofagricultural capacity within or close to urban areas has the potential toreduce food transportation’s costs and environmental impacts) and the results are great.
However, as long as the attention of world’s leaders will be focused on housing and transportation, these experiments will be nothing more than a shot in the dark and the increasing demand of food won’t be solved.