Living Island – an encounter of nature and technology mediated by water

In the part of Budapest full of office buildings, integrated into the central offices of the Budapest Waterworks Company, people passing by will soon encounter a hitherto unbelievable and unimaginable living island in the sea of concrete and glass. A demolished staircase will be replaced by a lush display of vegetables and herbs in glass containers. The experimental urban farm built in cooperation with Biopolus Ltd. will present the encounter of the life-giving medium of water and innovative, as yet extraordinary plant cultivation solutions that will become commonplace in the future in a spectacular fashion. Thanks to the special aeroponic plant cultivation technology developed specifically for urban environments that the living island will be based on, very high quality crops can be grown in a very small area, without soil or sunlight.

Researchers will use this experimental method of plant cultivation to seek an answer to the important question of food supply and urban sustainability about how increasing populations can be supplied with a sufficient quantity of quality food when increasing the area of fertile land is not an option. The technology is able to supply the annual tomato consumption of a town of ten thousand people using an amazingly small quantity of water and a very small footprint, in a biologically clean space. The technology, which was first developed for use in space, then became very popular with marijuana-growers, can solve the fruit and vegetable supply problems to entire urban neighbourhoods and residential communities, providing tasty produce and with no need for genetic modification at all. Through the large glass surfaces, passers by can also witness the growth of mouth-watering vegetables in the multiple rows of vertical containers lit with various colours of light, while the plants’ roots hang in the air. The production containers will form a composition with a pool and a drinking fountain in front of it towards the street, while a green wall will be placed behind the living island.

This will create a comprehensive display of the many uses of water, from growing crops through climate control to drinking. The display pavilion, which will occupy two stories and consist of a total of eight glass containers, will be a sight to behold in this noisy and dusty environment, and it will also offer a glimpse of this novel agricultural technology for organised groups of visitors, who will also have the opportunity to taste the local produce.