Urban designer calls for the development of green walls, roofs and hydroponics to be put on a war footing

The creation of green walls and roofs and the development of hydroponic growing needs the kind of boost that comes from being put on a war footing, a leading designer told a conference organised by interior landscape design body eFig yesterday.

Vertical urban designer Mark Laurence said the world was changing fundamentally and forever. The energy crisis meant the globe would never return to 'full-on growth'.

He told the eFig conference in Swindon: "where's the logic that tells us you can have infinite growth on a finite planet. Exponential growth ends up in collapse."

Laurence, founder of Biotecture, added: "We have to grow food in and on buildings; it's not a nice idea, it has to be done because we don't have the energy to fly food from Kenya or South America on a whim because we fancy something on a supermarket shelf."

He added: "Average food miles for every single item is 1,200 miles. That's a heck of a cost and it happens because of the cheap cost of oil. Yet we have barely scratched the surface of ecosystem services, such as green walls and roofs and hydroponics."

"We need a global war footing on priority. When Pearl Harbour was bombed within four days the entire USA automative industry had been instructed to stop and switch to the war effort. We need that kind of urgency now. We won't get it but we need to do as much as we can to promote ecosystem services."

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