Inner city vertical farm concept designed using shipping containers


July 22, 2014

The Hive-Inn City Farm is a concept by OVA Studio aimed at re-localizing food production

The Hive-Inn City Farm is a concept by OVA Studio aimed at re-localizing food production

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Vertical farming and building with shipping containers have been touted as solutions to dwindling space in cities and costly construction, respectively. A new concept wants to combine the two as a means of re-localizing food production. The Hive-Inn is a modular and adaptable city farm design proposed for New York.

Gizmag has featured many vertical farming projects, shipping container builds and concept designs for both over the years. In 2009, we asked whether or not vertical farming could solve a global food crisis and last year we featured 10 of our favorite shipping container-based structures.

Other related ideas include Eugene Tsui's two-mile-high termite nest concept, designed as a solution to the world's burgeoning population, and the composting islands proposed for New York by Present Architecture.

The Hive-Inn City Farm concept, designed by OVA Studio, extols the virtues of reconnecting people with nature and bringing food production backs into cities. It aims to give citizens back understanding and control of food production. The concept incorporates community kitchen gardens, neighborhood cooperatives and supermarkets selling locally grown produce direct from producers. It is proposed that the structure would be used to produce crops including green vegetables, tomatoes, corn, and honey.

"The revenues generated by Hive-Inn City Farm are essentially from food production, which we believe can be sold at lower prices than those of present organic produces, because we cut off transportation costs and costs associated with middlemen," explains OVA in a press release.

The basis of the Hive-Inn is a vertical, modular structure made up of a frame that holds shipping containers. The structure is to be viewed as an adaptable composition of containers that can be slotted in, removed or rearranged as required. The containers are used in their unmodified form, ensuring that they remain easily movable and that there is no unnecessary money spent on modifications. Containers could be removed and relocated elsewhere were a building tenant to move on.

The concept proposes that each container plays a role in producing food, harvesting energy and recycling waste and water. Rainwater is collected and fed to storage tanks for use in watering plants and grey water (used water collected from sinks, showers and baths) is collected for use in toilet plumbing. Toilet and animal waste is collected and fed through a "multrum" system to produce compost for feeding plants and methane for producing electricity. Waste paper and organic material can also be used in the methane production process.

Although only a concept at present, OVA hopes to bring the Hive-Inn into reality and is seeking investors and partners worldwide. An initial site is earmarked in New York not far from the UN Headquarters and OVA suggests that other suitable cities include Seoul, Tokyo, Shanghai, Beijing, Berlin, Rotterdam, Toronto and Seattle.

The company is hoping to raise an initial round of funding to the tune of US$1.5 million, that it says would cover a feasibility study and a prototype.

Source: OVA Studio

About the Author
Stu Robarts Stu is a tech writer based in Liverpool, UK. He has previously worked on global digital estate management at Amaze and headed up digital strategy for FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology). He likes cups of tea, bacon sandwiches and RSS feeds. All articles by Stu Robarts

While I think it is neat people reuse shipping containers, I am not sure about the looks of this one. It is very unique and I have no doubt people will remember it. It looks like it is so haphazard in design.


In 1820 there were about a billion people in the world, it was 2 billion by 1920 and now its 7 billion. The speed in which the the population doubles has been increasing. At the existing rate about as many people are added to the world every 10 years as the world population in 1820.

A lot of people argue there is no overpopulation in the world and that's certainly the case /now/ but it may very well not be the case if population grows continues at the existing rate. I still think growing crops on skyscrapers is mostly a bad idea though. By using up real estate in cities for crops you don't have enough room to feed very many people, it's expensive compared to rural farming, and you create a transportation obstacle as you further spread out urban centers to make room for city farms.


Were the designers playing Jenga one night and collectively decided that an unstable tower would be the perfect thing to build in a populated urban area?


Seriously, a structure like this in a city will be filled to the brim with exactly two types of creatures. Rats and Pigeons (also a type of flying rat) .

I don't know what practical sustainable living looks like in the future, but if people visualise this as the way to go they may also want to consider how to deal with the radius of infestation and bird poo it will create


Practical urban farms have been built in previously abandoned buildings. The bricked up windows helped maintain the optimal temperatures for growing plants inside making it cheaper to use artificial lighting (which has since become a lot more efficient) than pay for the climate control escaping from the windows.

@ Daishi A study of demographics will show that the population is leveling out with the increasing standard of living that industrialization has brought us. Note in particularly that in the first world. without immigration the populations would already b e declining. Stop panicking and make detailed examinations of the facts.


It's a great idea-

1) It removes the cost and traffic congestion of transporting crops hundreds of miles from farm to consumer. It's far and away more efficient.

2) It would end the depletion of river waters and the fertilizer runoff that today are destroying the vital estuary ecosystems.

3) The profits from these crops would go to local producers, rather than to the the 1% through their Big Agro corporations.

4) The food produced would be FRESH AND RIPE, nutritious and delicious- the opposite of today's varieties, developed to sit for weeks, months, in transport and warehouses. Ever had corn, or strawberries, or peaches, or tomatoes, fresh from the field? No? You don't know what you're missing. And, tastier than chocolate, pizza etc, it would end obesity among its consumers.

5) Wow, an elevated green space in the city? WHAT A NICE PLACE TO LIVE!


The key word is hydraponics

Len Simpson

@Slowburn Population growth in industrialized nations has leveled off but most of the world does not live in modern/industrialized nations. Almost half the world, almost 3 billion people live on less than $2.50/day. At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day (source: )

With world population currently doubling every ~45 years why do you believe all the poor countries in the world (currently experiencing huge population growth) will suddenly become modern "first world" countries in the very near future?

In 100 more years at existing growth rates the population will be 28 billion instead of 7 billion. If you think countries like Zimbabwe, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Afghanistan will be on par with countries like Japan, Denmark, and Germany in 100 years I would question your sanity.

This is a half decent representation:

In short, yes population growth in industrialized nations is leveling off but people in industrialized nations make up an increasingly smaller percentage of the world population. Forecasts that require the poorest nations in the world to somehow become modern and industrialized are unrealistically optimistic.

Aside from that, in context of the article it's also worth pointing out that most of the worlds population is now urban rather than rural:


Anyone believing the NIMBY crowd in NYC will allow this to happen is delusional.

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