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Found 5 results

  1. The New York Times July 15, 2008 Country, the City Version: By BINA VENKATARAMAN What if “eating local” in Shanghai or New York meant getting your fresh produce from five blocks away? And what if skyscrapers grew off the grid, as verdant, self-sustaining towers where city slickers cultivated their own food? Dickson Despommier, a professor of public health at Columbia University, hopes to make these zucchini-in-the-sky visions a reality. Dr. Despommier’s pet project is the “vertical farm,” a concept he created in 1999 with graduate students in his class on medical ecology, the study of how the environment and human health interact. The idea, which has captured the imagination of several architects in the United States and Europe in the past several years, just caught the eye of another big city dreamer: Scott M. Stringer, the Manhattan borough president. When Mr. Stringer heard about the concept in June, he said he immediately pictured a “food farm” addition to the New York City skyline. “Obviously we don’t have vast amounts of vacant land,” he said in a phone interview. “But the sky is the limit in Manhattan.” Mr. Stringer’s office is “sketching out what it would take to pilot a vertical farm,” and plans to pitch a feasibility study to the mayor’s office within the next couple of months, he said. “I think we can really do this,” he added. “We could get the funding.” Dr. Despommier estimates that it would cost $20 million to $30 million to make a prototype of a vertical farm, but hundreds of millions to build one of the 30-story towers that he suggests could feed 50,000 people. “I’m viewed as kind of an outlier because it’s kind of a crazy idea,” Dr. Despommier, 68, said with a chuckle. “You’d think these are mythological creatures.” Dr. Despommier, whose name in French means “of the apple trees,” has been spreading the seeds of his radical idea in lectures and through his Web site. He says his ideas are supported by hydroponic vegetable research done by NASA and are made more feasible by the potential to use sun, wind and wastewater as energy sources. Several observers have said Dr. Despommier’s sky-high dreams need to be brought down to earth. “Why does it have to be 30 stories?” said Jerry Kaufman, professor emeritus of urban and regional planning at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. “Why can’t it be six stories? There’s some exciting potential in the concept, but I think he overstates what can be done.” Armando Carbonell, chairman of the department of planning and urban form at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge, Mass., called the idea “very provocative.” But it requires a rigorous economic analysis, he added. “Would a tomato in lower Manhattan be able to outbid an investment banker for space in a high-rise? My bet is that the investment banker will pay more.” Mr. Carbonell questions if a vertical farm could deliver the energy savings its supporters promise. “There’s embodied energy in the concrete and steel and in construction,” he said, adding that the price of land in the city would still outweigh any savings from not having to transport food from afar. “I believe that this general relationship is going to hold, even as transportation costs go up and carbon costs get incorporated into the economic system.” Some criticism is quite helpful. Stephen Colbert jokingly asserted that vertical farming was elitist when Dr. Despommier appeared in June on “The Colbert Report,” a visit that led to a jump in hits to the project’s Web site from an average of 400 daily to 400,000 the day after the show. Dr. Despommier agrees that more research is needed, and calls the energy calculations his students made for the farms, which would rely solely on alternative energy, “a little bit too optimistic.” He added, “I’m a biologist swimming in very deep water right now.” “If I were to set myself as a certifier of vertical farms, I would begin with security,” he said. “How do you keep insects and bacteria from invading your crops?” He says growing food in climate-controlled skyscrapers would also protect against hail and other weather-related hazards, ensuring a higher quality food supply for a city, without pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Architects’ renderings of vertical farms — hybrids of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and Biosphere 2 with SimCity appeal — seem to be stirring interest. “It also has to be stunning in terms of the architecture, because it needs to work in terms of social marketing,” Dr. Despommier said. “You want people to say, ‘I want that in my backyard.’ ” Augustin Rosenstiehl, a French architect who worked with Dr. Despommier to design a template “living tower,” said he thought that any vertical farm proposal needed to be adapted to a specific place. Mr. Rosenstiehl, principal architect for Atelier SOA in Paris, said: “We cannot do a project without knowing where and why and what we are going to cultivate. For example, in Paris, if you grow some wheat, it’s stupid because we have big fields all around the city and lots of wheat and it’s good wheat. There’s no reason to build towers that are very expensive.” Despite its potential problems, the idea of bringing food closer to the city is gaining traction among pragmatists and dreamers alike. A smaller-scale design of a vertical farm for downtown Seattle won a regional green building contest in 2007 and has piqued the interest of officials in Portland, Ore. The building, a Center for Urban Agriculture designed by architects at Mithun, would supply about a third of the food needed for the 400 people who would live there. In June at P.S.1 Contemporary Arts Center in Queens, a husband-wife architect team built a solar-powered outdoor farm out of stacked rows of cardboard tube planters — one that would not meet Dr. Despommier’s security requirements — with chicken coops for egg collection and an array of fruits and vegetables. For Dr. Despommier, the high-rise version is on the horizon. “It’s very idealistic and ivory tower and all of that,” he said. “But there’s a real desire to make this happen.” ---------------- Peut-être pour Dubai en premier? Et le silo no.5, un de ses jours?
  2. Dragonfly concept aims for ecological self-sufficiency in New York The latest concept design from Vincent Callebaut Architects – the Dragonfly – has been designed with the intention of easing the ever-increasing need for ecological and environmental self-sufficiency in the urban cityscape. The proposed development, designed around the Southern bank of Roosevelt Island in New York, follows a vertical farm design which, it is hoped, would cultivate food, agriculture, farming and renewable energy in an urban setting. The unique 128 floor, 700m concept design is spread over two oblong towers and suggests building a prototype of an urban farm in which a mixed programme of housing, offices, laboratories and farming spaces are vertically laid out over several floors and cultivated by its inhabitants. The architecture of the design proposes reinventing the vertical building, so associated with the New York skyline of the 19th and 20th centuries, both structurally and functionally as well as ecologically. The functional organisation of the design is arranged around two 600m towers, symmetrically arranged around a huge climactic greenhouse that links them, and constructed of glass and steel. This greenhouse, which defines the shape of the design, supports the load of the building and is directly inspired by the structural exoskeleton of dragonfly wings. Two inhabited rings buttress around the ‘wings,’ and along the exterior of these are solar panels, which will provide up to half the buildings electricity, with the rest being supplied by three wind machines along the vertical axes of the building. While most would argue that the unconventional design of Dragonfly would be more suited to Dubailand than New York, the conceptual design tackles the contemporary dilemma of food production and agriculture in a city sorely lacking in the horizontal space required to do so, as well as attempting to achieve this in an ecologically sound and renewable way by merging production and consumption in the heart of the city. John Edwards Reporter http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=11599
  3. Desjardins et le Crédit Mutuel achètent State Farm au Canada Publié le 15 janvier 2014 à 12h37 | Mis à jour à 12h50 Le Mouvement Desjardins effectuera un important bond de croissance dans le marché de l'assurance au Canada en acquérant avec l'appui de son vis-à-vis français Crédit Mutuel les activités canadiennes de State Farm, la plus grosse mutuelle d'assurances aux États-Unis. Avec cette transaction annoncée ce midi, Desjardins deviendra le deuxième plus important assureur de dommages au Canada avec un volume de primes annuelles qui doublera presque, passant de 2 milliards à près de 3,9 milliards de dollars. Selon Desjardins, cette transaction devrait également renforcer sa quatrième position dans le marché de l'assurance de personnes au Canada. Une fois la transaction conclue, d'ici un an prévoit-on, Desjardins accueillera les 1700 employés canadiens de State Farm et le réseau canadien de plus de 500 agents qui desservent quelque 1,2 million de clients de l'entreprise en Ontario, en Alberta et au Nouveau-Brunswick. Par ailleurs, pour financer cette transaction qui mobilisera quelque 1,6 milliard en capitaux, Desjardins conserve State Farm comme partenaire au capital de sa filiale d'assurance-dommages. Il y ajoutera le Credit Mutuel de France, déjà un important vis-à-vis dans le secteur des plus grandes coopératives financières du monde. Desjardins se portera acquéreur des activités canadiennes d'assurance de dommages et d'assurance vie de State Farm, ainsi que de ses entreprises de fonds communs, de prêts et d'assurance de prestations du vivant (assurance santé). Desjardins pourra exploiter les affaires canadiennes de State Farm sous la bannière de cette dernière, et ce, pendant une période convenue entre les parties. Selon la présidente et chef de la direction du Mouvement Desjardins, Monique Leroux, «cette transaction entre State Farm et Desjardins avec l'appui de son partenaire français de longue date, le Crédit Mutuel, réunit trois groupes financiers coopératifs et mutuel pour créer un chef de file dans le secteur de l'assurance au Canada.» Selon Edward B. Rust Jr., président du conseil et chef de la direction de State Farm, «l'investissement de State Farm dans la compagnie d'assurance de dommages qui résultera de cette transaction avec Desjardins et la poursuite de l'exploitation de la marque de State Farm reflètent notre confiance en l'avenir de l'entreprise. » Pour sa part, le président du Crédit Mutuel, Michel Lucas, a indiqué que «cet engagement du Crédit Mutuel s'inscrit dans le cadre de notre politique de diversification, en France comme à l'étranger. Il témoigne aussi de notre volonté de contribuer activement à la mise sur pied et à la croissance du deuxième assureur de dommages au Canada. » http://affaires.lapresse.ca/economie/services-financiers/201401/15/01-4728972-desjardins-et-le-credit-mutuel-achetent-state-farm-au-canada.php
  4. Quebec funds effort to build $130M river turbine farm on St. Lawrence River BECANCOUR -- The Quebec government is helping to bankroll a $130-million project by RER Hydro, Hydro-Quebec and Boeing to generate clean energy on the St. Lawrence River in what officials say would be the world's largest river-generated turbine farm. The three-phase project could eventually culminate in nine megawatts of renewable power being generated in Montreal from 46 riverbed turbines, with installation beginning in 2016. The province could contribute up to a maximum of $85 million in equity and loans. That's on top of the $3 million it has already provided RER Hydro Inc. for its initial $230-million prototype testing phase that lasted three years. Quebec, which is a leader in production of hydroelectricity, hopes that the technology will take off and support the manufacture of about 500 turbines annually and some 600 direct and indirect jobs at RER Hydro's plant in Becancour, near Trois-Rivieres. Premier Pauline Marois said at the plant's official opening on Monday that the government is actively helping new industries that hold promise for the Quebec economy, such as its strategy to support the electrification of transportation. "Our participation in this partnership agreement will promote the development of the industrial sector of turbines, which has great economic potential for Quebec, particularly because of the significant export opportunities," Marois said, while also stressing the job creation potential of the project. The technology has global market potential and could supply electricity to isolated communities in Northern Quebec not currently connected to the provincial power grid. The second phase of the project, estimated to cost $51.5 million, would install and test six turbines generating three-quarters of a megawatt of power near the Pont de la Concorde bridge near the Montreal Casino on Ste Helen's Island. About 25 jobs would be created in Becancour and Montreal. It would mark the first commercial sale of RER Hydro's technology. If results are successful, about $81 million would be spent to install a demonstration fleet of 40 turbines beginning in 2016. That would create 90 direct jobs and 80 indirect jobs from various suppliers. Unlike dams, the "hydrokinetic" turbines generate clean power without disrupting the river flow or the natural habitat of fish or other marine life, said RER Hydro CEO Imad Hamad. "This new industry will help to further transform Quebec's natural resources for the benefit of Quebecers," Hamad said. RER and Boeing (NYSE:BA), the U.S. aerospace and defence giant, signed an agreement last year giving Boeing exclusive rights to market and sell the turbines around the world. Boeing is providing program management, engineering, manufacturing and supplier-management expertise, in addition to servicing the turbines. "This agreement between industry and government will deliver renewable power while protecting the environment," said Dennis Muilenburg, CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. "It also builds on Boeing's long-term, strategic partnership with Canada, supporting customers from aerospace and defence to clean energy, generating high-quality jobs and making a difference in the community." Boeing says it works with 40 suppliers in Quebec, contributing to the $1 billion in economic activity the company generates annually across Canada. Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/business/quebec-funds-effort-to-build-130m-river-turbine-farm-on-st-lawrence-river-1.1539132#ixzz2kRX062Vp