For centuries, Chicago has been a national catalyst of trendy innovations that have made history. In 1885, the city became home to the world’s first skyscraper and since then, its downtown’s structures have assembled into one of today’s most recognizable skylines, known as the “Loop”. This area of massive buildings is constantly expanding its borders to fit in more of the usual: pricey hotels, luxury condos, corporate businesses, retail destinations, etc. Exciting advancements in their engineering have made it possible to keep constructing structures higher into the sky, however this multiplies the amount of fuel and energy it takes to operate these buildings throughout their time results in harmful emissions being released into the atmosphere.
According to a report by the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, “commercial and residential building sector accounts for 39% of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the United States per year, more than any other sector.” Chicago has been known as a global city notorious for struggling to eliminate environmental pollution throughout its time and the hundreds of powered high-rises account for the biggest air pollutants that damage air quality for residents.
So what if we used modern innovation to design a skyscraper that instead cleaned the air around it?
Vertical farming has become a popular method of implicating agronomics into dense areas that have limited land availability. Chicago’s Loop needs to find a way to fit in eco-friendly uses of property and a skyscraper farm would be a great asset to its variety of environmental restorations. Hydroponic and aeroponic concepts in cultivation don’t use soil to grow their crop, and instead rely on a mist of nutrients that utilize far less water than average farming. Indoor high-rises of plants that emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere would be a proactive and excellent alternative that can make up for the harmful impacts of surrounding structures and would be cost effective for the city. Local super markets can grow their food in these structures and also save money on transporting their produce into their stores. If the city prioritized this initiative, this would benefit the health of all residents, operational costs of businesses, and prevent many problems that may result from potential public health issues otherwise.