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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
30 Jun 2014

June 29, 2014
Shiraz, Iran

Mannequins in traditional Islamic dress are seen lined up in a local mall.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
29 Jun 2014

June 29, 2014
Shiraz, Iran

Locals in an electronics shop which is selling high-end flat screen television sets.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
29 Jun 2014

June 29, 2014
Shiraz, Iran

Children play at Iran Land, an amusement park built inside the Persian Gulf Complex, a large shopping mall located in the outskirts of Shiraz.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
29 Jun 2014

June 29, 2014 S
Shiraz, Iran

A woman shops at Hyperstar, Irans first international-style hypermarket, built inside the Persian Gulf Complex, a huge mall in the outskirts of Shiraz. Hyperstar plans to open 15 branches by 2015 in 5 different cities.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
28 Jun 2014

June 28, 2014
Shiraz, Iran

Women are seen withdrawing money at a local ATM machine. Due to sanctions against Iran, international bank cards are not recognized.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
26 Jun 2014

June 26, 2014
Shiraz, Iran

Customers inside a dress shop.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
25 Jun 2014

June 25, 2014
Shiraz, Iran

A man plays an video game in the arcade section of a mall.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
23 Jun 2014

June 23, 2014
Shiraz, Iran

Cars are seen in a parking lot of Shiraz. Due to the international sanctions, importation of foreign cars is expensive and many Iranians opt to buy locally produced cars.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
22 Jun 2014

June 22, 2014
Yazd, Iran

Local women shop at the local Grand Bazaar. Despite the increasing number of malls that have opened around the country, many Iranians still prefer to shop in traditional bazaars.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
21 Jun 2014

June 21, 2014
Yazd, Iran

A young girl walks in the streets of Yazd. Iranian women are increasingly reluctant to comply with government-imposed traditional dress codes and many have started to go around the prohibitions, wearing western-style hijabs made of fashionable fabrics.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
19 Jun 2014

June 19, 2014
Isfahan, Iran

A portrait of Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei and Ayatollah Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini is displayed on a wall of the Isfahan City Center Mall, one of the biggest in the country.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
19 Jun 2014

June 19, 2014
Isfahan, Iran

Customers at the "Kentucky House" one of the fast food restaurant built inside the Isfahan City Center Mall, one of the biggest in the country.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
19 Jun 2014

June 19, 2014
Isfahan, Iran

People shopping at the Isfahan City Center Mall, one of the biggest in the country.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
19 Jun 2014

June 19, 2014
Isfahan, Iran

Iranian youths walk in front of a recently opened unofficial Apple reseller.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
19 Jun 2014

June 19, 2014
Isfahan, Iran

A woman shops in an appliance center inside the Isfahan City Center Mall, one of the biggest in the country.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
18 Jun 2014

June 18, 2014
Isfahan, Iran

A young boy looks through a shop window.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
18 Jun 2014

June 18, 2014
Isfahan, Iran

Two girls check Facebook on a smartphone. Despite slow mobile internet connections, Iran has seen a considerable increase of consumers purchasing smartphones.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
18 Jun 2014

June 18, 2014
Isfahan, Iran

Traditional Islamic black chadors are sold at the local Bazaar. Iranian women are increasingly reluctant to comply with government-imposed traditional dress codes and many have started to go around the prohibitions, wearing western-style hijabs, made of fashionable fabrics.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
12 Jun 2014

June 12, 2014
Tehran, Iran

A young girl drinks lemonade during the birthday celebration for of Imam Mahdi in a neighborhood of Tehran.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
12 Jun 2014

June 12, 2014
Tehran, Iran

A car is sold in a small show room of the capital. Due to the international sanctions, importation of foreign cars is expensive and many Iranians opt to buy locally produced cars.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
12 Jun 2014

June 12, 2014
Tehran, Iran

Young women dress with traditional Islamic black chador in a street of the capital Tehran.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
12 Jun 2014

June 12, 2014
Tehran, Iran

Two young girls walk the streets of Tehran. Iranian women are increasingly reluctant to comply with government-imposed traditional dress codes. Many have started to go around the prohibitions, wearing western-style hijabs, made of fashionable fabrics.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
11 Jun 2014

June 11, 2014
Qom, Iran

Two young pilgrims walk in front of a mosque in Qom, the second holiest city in Iran. The girl on the left is seeing wearing a patch, after having plastic surgery on her nose. Iran has the world's highest nose surgery rate.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
11 Jun 2014

June 11, 2014
Qom, Iran

Young pilgrims eat ice cream in a cafe in Qom, the second holiest city in Iran.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
11 Jun 2014

June 19, 2014
Isfahan, Iran

A local sits in front of a recently opened unofficial Apple reseller.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
10 Jun 2014

June 12, 2014
Tehran, Iran

Customers walk through the Grand Bazaar of Tehran. Despite the increasing number of malls opened around the country, many Iranians still prefer to shop in traditional bazaars.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
10 Jun 2014

June 12, 2014
Tehran, Iran

A woman shops at the Grand Bazaar of Tehran.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
10 Jun 2014

June 10, 2014
Tehran, Iran

Pantyhose packages are seen with makeshift censorship markings on the models' arms and legs.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
09 Jun 2014

June 09, 2014
Tehran, Iran

People shop at Golestan Shopping Center, one of the first mall built in the country.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
09 Jun 2014

June 09, 2014
Tehran, Iran

People shop at Golestan Shopping Center, one of the first malls built in the country.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
08 Jun 2014

June 08, 2014
Tabriz, Iran

A view of the local Grand Baazar, the oldest in the Middle East. Despite the increasing number of malls opened around the country, many Iranians still prefer to shop in traditional bazaars.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
08 Jun 2014

June 08, 2014
Tabriz, Iran

Locals take photographs using their smartphones. Despite slow mobile internet connections, Iran has seen a considerable increase of consumers purchasing smartphones.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
07 Jun 2014

June 07, 2014
Tabriz, Iran

Women shoes are sold in a shop located inside the local Grand Baazar. Despite the increasing number of malls opened around the country, many Iranians still prefer to shop in traditional bazaars.

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Consumerism in Iran
Iran
By Ruom
07 Jun 2014

June 07, 2014
Tabriz, Iran

Iranian youths play backgammon on a tablet in a traditional cafe. Despite slow mobile internet connections, Iran has seen a considerable increase of consumers purchasing smartphones.

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Food insecurity: Does South Korea hav...
Seoul, South Korea
By maltekol
12 Jul 2013

The World Health Organization warns that overpopulation and a lack of arable land contribute to global food insecurity. So scientists are developing new farming technology to offset potential food shortages. Researchers in South Korea are experimenting with vertical farms; gardens that instead of spreading out, go straight up.
Jason Strother and Malte Kollenberg report from Seoul.

Almost half of South Korea’s 50 millions citizens live here in the capital. And in a country with very limited agricultural land, feeding all of these people presents a challenge. Some observers say the nation faces increasing food insecurity.

Park Hwan-il is food security analyst at the Samsung Economic Research Institute in Seoul.

Int: Park Hwan-il, SERI (English)
"The food self sufficiency rate in Korea is just about 26 percent. Which means three quarters of the food we consume is from the foreign countries. That means the Korean people’s health and nutrition depends on outside factors that we cannot control”

Park says that climate conditions or other instability in the international market makes importing food unpredictable. It’s not only a problem for Korea, but for many other countries too. But some scientists say there is a solution.

Int. from online: Dickson Despommier, Columbia University (English)
“My name is Dickson Despommier: I teach at Columbia Universities Medical School and school of public health. The world would be a much better place, if we had vertical farming.”

Despommier says tower-like hydroponic farms could someday stand alongside skyscrapers as a key food source for billions of city dwellers

Int. from online: Dickson Despommier, Columbia University (English)
“Here’s my vision of what a vertical farm might look like. My gold standard for this is the Apple Store in New York City on 5th Avenue. If you took that building and made it into a five-story building. Now in the building you have multiple floors of course, and inside each floor you have multiple layers of crops.”

Despommier says vertical farms could be a key solution for countries with a growing population or limited arable land. Like South Korea.

30-kilometers south of Seoul in Suwon, the government is trying to make Despommier’s vision a reality. The Rural Development Administration has built the prototype of a vertical farm.Inside this research facility a small team of scientists is working on turning this concept a marketable product.So far, their experiment is only 3-storeys high. But they hope that one day, the technology will expand and be capable of feeding the entire nation.

Agrarian scientist Choi Kyu-hong is still sorting out more basic challenges.

Int: Choi Kyu-hong, RDA (English)
“The plant factory requires a lot of energy, the light energy and the heating and cooling energy. So we provide the heating or cooling energy using geothermal systems. We adopted the solar cell system to provide light source energies, but we are still (only) provide 15 percent of the total energy”

Choi adds his team still faces many challenges:

Int: Choi Kyu-hong, RDA (English)
“We are still (in) the research state, its take some time to make a commercial plant factories. We are firstly trying to find out the optimum wavelength of light”

Choi says the problem is that different plants grow at different speeds, depending on the light’s color and wavelength.

But even though the government hasn’t perfected vertical farming technology yet, some in the private sector are already putting it to use. Inside this Lotte Mart, a supermarket franchise in Seoul, lettuce grows under the lights of this small vertical farm.

Store mangers say produce grown in this facility has extra benefits for customers.

Int: Kim Chang-jo, Lotte Mart
(Korean) “We are the first super market to install a vertical farm. We hope that it will draw attention to environmental concerns. The plants are affordable and no pesticides were used, so its healthier for our customers”

Kim says the vertical farm lettuce costs the same as lettuce grown the old fashioned way. But some analysts say that all the lights and heating systems required to operate a vertical farm is just too expensive to make it a viable solution for food insecurity.

Int: Park Hwan-il, SERI
(English) “Vertical farming costs too much. / Even though the productivity in vertical farming is very high, very good, but it does not have the merit in price or marketing advantage at all”

Back at the Suwon experimental vertical farm, scientists admit they still have a long way to go. The Rural Development Administration’s Lee Hye jin gives a rough time frame.

Int: Lee Hye-jin, RDA
(Korean) “It might take at least five more years of research to make progress on these obstacles. Then vertical farms might be ready for commercial use”

The South Korean scientists say that once all the problems are resolved, vertical farms won't just have to stop at three-stories. The sky is the limit.