Vertical Farming: An Assessment of Singapore City




Singapore, vertical farming, urbanisation, cities, food security, urban farming


Urban planners, government leaders, and the farming community have noted the important role cities play in producing their own food to manage higher levels of domestic demand, food insecurity, environmental concerns and affordability. To better understand these issues our research examines urban farming; in particular, the use of vertical farming methods. Such approaches can be used to overcome not only food safety and land resource issues, but also better manage the threats posed by rapid urbanisation. With technological developments in hydroponics, aeroponics and aquaponics, vertical farming has become a much more efficient and affordable means of farming in urban spaces. Overall, these high-tech systems signify a shift in the ways farming and food production can be operationalised. The results from our analysis show that Singapore, a tropical city in Asia, is making significant strides in vertical farming with substantial public and private investment in R&D through high-tech, high-yielding, land-limited farms in high-rise buildings. Despite these initiatives, Singapore faces a highly constrained urban environment where land scarcity is exacerbated by a complex regulatory land use framework.

Author Biographies

Jacob Wood, James Cook University, Singapore & Chungnam National University, South Korea

Dr Jacob Wood is the Associate Dean of Research (ADR) for the College of Business, Law and Governance, James Cook University (JCU), Australia and the ADR of Business/IT/Science at JCU Singapore. He is also the Director of the Centre for International Trade and Business in Asia (CITBA) and an Associate Professor of Business at James Cook University Singapore. In addition to this, he is a Visiting Professor of International Trade at Chungnam National University, Daejeon, South Korea. His research interests are risk management, the use of non-tariff barriers, the WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism and sustainable transportation development. Dr Wood has published in the Journal of World Trade, the Singapore Economic Review, International Journal of Disaster Risk Management, Risk Management, Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, Sustainability, Scientometrics, Economies, and the Journal of Asia-Pacific Economic Literature among others.

Caroline Wong, James Cook University Singapore

Dr Caroline Wong is the Associate Dean of Learning and Teaching (ADLT) and a Senior Lecturer at James Cook University Singapore. Her research in knowledge management takes on a multidisciplinary approach that extends into knowledge-based cities, smart cities, creative cities, and creative industries with special focus on Singapore. She was a founding member of the International Scientific Committee of the Knowledge Cities World Summit in Monterrey (Mexico) in 2007 and a member of the International Advisory Board on knowledge-based cities between the years 2007-2009. She has published in the Journal of Competence-Based Strategic Management, International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Journal of Knowledge Management and the Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice. Her academic research extends into the scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education with focus on experiential learning, intervention programs, teamwork and entrepreneurship.

Swathi Paturi, James Cook University Singapore

Swathi Paturi is a CITBA Research Fellow at James Cook University Singapore. She has previously pursued Bachelor’s courses in Mechanical Engineering at Waikato University, New Zealand and the University of Cincinnati, USA, where she served as the International Ambassador from 2015-2016. Her research interests include food sustainability, agribusiness, agriculture technology and sustainability. She has been published in eTropic: electronic journal of studies in the tropics.


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How to Cite

Wood, J., Wong, C., & Paturi, S. (2020). Vertical Farming: An Assessment of Singapore City. ETropic: Electronic Journal of Studies in the Tropics, 19(2), 228–248.