Re: Agricultural Skyscrapers

Anders Sandberg (
26 Jan 1998 18:36:06 +0100

A very nice posting, it mirrors my views perfectly. I have never
really liked the idea of farms in the first place (I'm a 100% city
person - when I as a 5 year old was brought out into nature I
immediately found a concrete slab to sit on :-). Of course, in order
for hydroponics to become widely used it must be cheap and efficient
enough. I wonder if it could be streamlined into a nearly
self-sustaining system, driven by solar power with minimal
requirements for human service. (David A Musick) writes:

> When we
> have the technology to do so, it will make more sense to carry out
> agriculture right in the city, in tall buildings; layers and layers of
> dense agricultural production. Stacking the layers up, instead of only
> using one layer as we do now, will mean we can produce more food using
> less land space.

Note that the buildings need to avoid shadow; this limits their use in
many dense city settings. In many ways it is a situation similar to a
forest, where trees compete for sunlight.

> The human population could become quite large, indeed. But how desirable
> is a huge human population, one several times larger than the current
> population? Considering that nothing like it has ever happened before,
> it's very hard to predict what so many billions of people will do. It
> will mean far more brilliant and hard-working geniuses than ever before.
> And it may also mean far more psychopaths and criminals, but it also
> means more people to stop them.

I think population density and culture are important factors
here. Humans get stressed when the population density is too large,
but this can be affected by cultural conditioning (compare Japan with
Australia), and with some care we might design working societies even
at very high densities. The problem is, as always, that even if
something can be designed in principle it might not be implementable
in practice. Most likely there is an upper limit to how densely we can
build and retain our sanity.

> Any speculations on the results of a
> population several times larger than the current one?

Much will depend on how dense communications are. My guess is that
eith enough humans even mass media will not be homogenizing enough,
and mankind will diversify intensely into numerous incompatible

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y