Asia’s biggest rooftop farm unveiled as designers herald green city of the future

Stunning aerial footage shows Asia’s largest rooftop farm which designers believe represents cities of the future – which will also fight climate change.

The 75,000 sq ft (7,000 metres) farm is built on top of the Thammasat University in the sprawling concrete metropolis of Bangkok, Thailand.

It mimics the layered rice terraces in the rural north of the country and is open to any residents who want to grow rice and vegetables, the region’s staple food.

Designers, who unveiled the project this month, believe that rooftop farms will become the green cities of the future as urban populations grow and land becomes scarce. 

Major cities including Paris and Singapore are adding similar rooftop farms to shopping malls and office blocks.

Kotchakorn Voraakhom, the landscape architect behind the project in Bangkok, believes the farms are more environmentally friendly – while also being resilient to floods said to be caused by climate change.

She said: ”We tend to make a distinction between buildings and green spaces but green spaces can be part of building design in cities like Bangkok, which has few green spaces

”Rooftops are usually under utilised but they can be green spaces that reduce the urban heat-island effect, the environmental impacts of buildings and land use, and also feed people.”

Bangkok suffers regular flooding during the monsoon season because of the amount of concrete covering the city. The World Bank estimates that extreme weather will cause 40 per cent of the city to be flooded by 2030.

However, due to their height, urban farms can avoid flooding while also providing a valuable source of food to residents. 

Carbon emissions from trucks driving from distant rural areas will also be cut because the product is closer to the consumer.

While the grass on th eroof of the building helps to keep it cool from the sun, therefor reducing the amount of energy used on air conditioning.

Kotchakorn, who was named in November on Time magazine’s inaugural 100 Next list of rising stars, believes urban rooftop farms ”should be the norm” because they overcome the problem of limited green spaces in cities.

Prinya Thaewanarumitkul, a vice vector at the university, said that rooftop farms will increase ”food security”.

He said the food produced from the farm is used in university’s canteen and praised the green space, which will have more trees added to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere.