At this point, I feel like I’ve heard so much about vertical farming—you know, skyscrapers with lots of dirt—that it must have already happened. (It hasn’t.) Vertical farming proponents, most notably Dickson Despommier at Columbia University, argue that as the world’s population grows and urbanizes, and as available arable land shrinks, it’ll seem obvious that crops should be grown in perfectly controlled, stacked, vertiginous environments.
It might still sound like science fiction, or something that’s too clever by several engineering degrees, but there is at least a shaky-sounding plan for the first vertical farm to be built in Las Vegas by 2010. There are other proposed projects out there, too, and if you’re at all intrigued, spend a few minutes with the renderings over at WebUrbanist, which has helpfully compiled them in a single post. Personally, I kept getting dizzy.