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Title: Assessment of light adequacy for vertical farming in a tropical city
Keywords: Built environment
Daily light integral
Photosynthetically active radiation
Urban agriculture
Plant physiology
Leafy vegetables
Issue Date: 1-Jan-2018
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Citation: SONG XIAO PING, TAN TIANG WAH,HUGH, TAN PUAY YOK (2018-01-01). Assessment of light adequacy for vertical farming in a tropical city. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 29 : 49-57. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: The pursuit of urban agriculture as part of a city’s green infrastructure is often a challenge, particularly within compact cities, where there is a limited amount of space between buildings for urban farming and gardening. Instead, such high-rise urban developments present often under-utilized spaces on the vertical surfaces of buildings. A key unknown is the adequacy of light for plant growth. Many leafy vegetables that require high amounts of light form a significant proportion of the staple diet in many Asian countries. We report on the assessment of sunlight adequacy for growing leafy vegetables in a compact tropical city, based on the high-rise and high-density residential environment of Singapore. Leaf physiological traits of seven leafy vegetables were assessed and used to estimate plant light requirements. A survey of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) along exposed corridors showed that the daily light integral (DLI) value ranged from 2 to 35 mol m−2 d−1 under relatively ideal weather conditions during days with abundant solar insolation, and façades that experienced a minimum of half-day direct insolation matched the light requirements of vegetables within the moderate to very high-light categories. With regard to the building form, PAR increased gradually with height, but remains highly influenced by façade orientation and configuration. Owing to the annual north–south oscillation of the sun’s path, reduced annual PAR variability and higher total annual PAR at façades, buildings with an east–west orientation will better support continuous vegetable cultivation, especially for basic building typologies without self-shading configurations. However, excessive PAR and temperatures during mid-day hours may hinder plant growth. By highlighting such patterns in levels of PAR, this study confirms the potential for high-rise and high-density conditions in the tropics to support farming using typically under-utilized vertical spaces of residential buildings.
Source Title: Urban Forestry & Urban Greening
ISSN: 1618-8667
DOI: 10.1016/j.ufug.2017.11.004
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