Vertical Theory


Vertical Theory: A Sustainable Approach to Urban Agriculture

This project originated as an industrial design graduate thesis project in the fall of 2009 and was completed for graduation purposes in the spring of 2010. Since May 2010 the project has continued to grow and evolve, including exhibitions at the 2010 New York World Maker Faire and the 2011 Bay Area Maker Faire.

Providing an alternative food source for urban dwellers, this vertical farming system utilizes hydroponic technologies, LED lighting, and felt. The current design requires minimal space, resources and maintenance to grow fresh food indoors. Further research is being conducted to incorporate sensors and alternative energy sources to maximize efficiency.

Responding to global climate change and continued population growth, Vertical Theory provides solutions for growing local and affordable food in urban settings. As the global population grows and the availability of food, water and energy resources become scarcer, alternative and efficient methods of farming will be essential to urban living.

Check out prototypes, events and more images from the project here.

Public Appearances:
2010 Pecha Kucha
2010 Ignite
2010 New York World Maker Faire
2011 Pierre Van Cortlandt Middle School
2011 Bay Area Maker Faire
2011 The Science Barge
2011 New York Maker Faire
2011 Tactical Urbanism Salon
2012 Bay Area Maker Faire
2013 McCoppin Hub
2015 “Feed Me” Group Exhibition at NYCxDesign

2010 Georgia Tech Research and Innovation Conference: Travel Grant
2010 Product Development and Management Association: 1st Place Graduate Student Paper Competition
2013 Alternative Grants, Sustainability in Design and Technology: Finalist

2011 Crisp Green
2011 Mother Nature Network
2012 GreenUPGRADER
2013 Mother Nature Network
2013 Outdoor Hydro
2013 SFGate

Role: Individual Project: Industrial design graduate thesis project
Responsibilities: All aspects of this project were my responsibility including background research, benchmarking, prototyping and testing, market research, user research, ideation, presentations and visual designs.

Follow this project on Twitter.


sustainability, urban agriculture, DIY, industrial design, product design, evidence-based design, design research