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thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
Curated by Lauren Moss
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Biber Architects’ American Pavilion at Milan Expo 2015 to Honor Food Trucks and Vertical Farming

Biber Architects’ American Pavilion at Milan Expo 2015 to Honor Food Trucks and Vertical Farming | green streets |

The United States will celebrate one of its most prized national treasures at the next World’s Fair: the food truck. In honor of the theme of the 2015  Milano Expo—“Feed the Planet, Energy for Life”—the American Pavilion, called American Food 2.0, includes street-level food trucks that will serve up some favorite American dishes.

The pavilion’s most visually distinctive feature, is its hydroponic facade—or, a football-field-length,vertical farm that is planted with harvestable crops. “It is as though a typical horizontal field was rotated (think Inception with a farm field standing in for Paris) to become the side of a building,” said Biber Architects in a statement. “It’s not our proposal for serious urban or vertical farming, which is usually indoors, but a didactic display talking about the past, present, and future of the American farm, and the American diet.”

Delphine Plasse's curator insight, May 19, 2014 5:06 AM

Marier architecture et initiatives vertes, de bonnes idées pédagogiques!

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Edible Schoolyard NYC: An Organic Garden in Brooklyn

Edible Schoolyard NYC: An Organic Garden in Brooklyn | green streets |

WORKac and Edible Schoolyard NYC transformed a half-acre of the existing parking lot of the Arturo Toscanini School in Gravesend, Brooklyn, into a thriving organic garden.

To ensure a true four-seasons garden experience for the students, WORKac incorporated a greenhouse together with the indoor kitchen classroom. The building is composed of three major components, each of which is articulated through the use of different materials: the greenhouse is a polycarbonate and aluminum structure; the steel-framed kitchen classroom is clad in a pixilated pattern of colored shingles; and a “Systems Wall” at the rear is articulated as a series of playful volumes covered in a bright blue rubber coating.

More details at the link...

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Award Given to Top Green Building and Urban Placemaking Sites

Award Given to Top Green Building and Urban Placemaking Sites | green streets |

Inspiration Kitchens in Chicago took home the Bruner Foundation’s Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence (RBA) gold medal, which comes with $50,000 in support for the project. Four other projects won silver medals and $10,000.

The biennial award celebrates “urban places distinguished by quality design and contributions to the social, economic, and communal vitality of our nation’s cities.” Since 1987, the Bruner Foundation has awarded 67 projects $1.2 million in support.

Inspiration Kitchens is an “entrepreneurial, nonprofit initiative” on Chicago’s west side. In an economically-challenged part of the city, this LEED Gold certified facility, with a 80-seat restaurant, serves free and affordable healthy meals.
The restaurant prides itself on being “earth-friendly, including our use of local ingredients, solar-heated water and sun-sensitive kitchen lighting.”

Four other projects won silver medals and $10,000: read the complete article for more details.

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Urban Farming is Growing in Shanghai, China

Urban Farming is Growing in Shanghai, China | green streets |

After years of relentless growth, Shanghai, China is entering a new phase of environmentally sustainable development, where issues like urban farming are becoming more prominent. 

Increasing urban density, competition for land and a rising demand for food from the burgeoning middle class, Shanghai needs to ensure that the opportunity to produce food in the city is possible.

The main challenge facing urban farming in Shanghai remains to be a lack of awareness. Without the proper education and know-how, the urban farming movement is unlikely to take shape on a large scale, and with very little outdoor space available, few options are available to grow food. Many residents have turned to creative land-intensive solutions such as balcony or rooftop farming to produce fresh, organic, healthy and cheap foods...

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Setting the Table, Making a Place: How Food Can Help Create a Multi-Use Destination

Setting the Table, Making a Place: How Food Can Help Create a Multi-Use Destination | green streets |

Food – we need it, we love it, and we structure our lives and cultures around it. San Antonio, Texas, is a city that is starting to structure its neighborhoods around it, starting with an ambitious redevelopment project called the Pearl Brewery. Located on 22 acres along the banks of the San Antonio River north of downtown, today’s Pearl is a multi-use campus of buildings originally founded as the J. B. Behloradsky Brewery and City Brewery over 120 years ago. The current vision for the site is for a vibrant urban district to grow out from a culinary destination that brings people together around the celebration of local food and culture...

A. S. CohenMiller's comment, September 5, 2012 4:14 PM
We love what Pearl has been doing. Definitely worth visiting (regularly)!
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Urban Agriculture: Designing Out the Distance

Urban Agriculture: Designing Out the Distance | green streets |

By designing our cities – our public and civic spaces, our hospitals and schools – with food in mind, we can facilitate a revolution by making food a visible part of urban life...


“The typical Urban Dweller today has no understanding of where or how food is produced/distributed. We have become dependent on huge, powerful, profit-minded corporations to bring huge quantities of food from industrial farms into our supermarkets – but the entire process is hidden, massively complex, and, ultimately, unsustainable.”

Urban Agriculture has incredible potential; unfortunately, however, in America, it has a long way to go. Our economy, our government, our technology, even our perception of what “food” is relies upon the Food System we currently have in place. Urban Agriculture could very well be the answer, but, frankly, not yet.

So where does that leave us today?

All over the world, citizens are taking the Food Revolution into their own hands, becoming urban bee-keepers, guerilla planters, rooftop gardeners, foodie activists. While community engagement and political lobbying are vital to these grassroots movements, so too could be design...

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A Geodesic Dome Promises Fish from the Sky

A Geodesic Dome Promises Fish from the Sky | green streets |
A design for a geodesic dome could allow for affordable rooftop aquaponics.

Ever since R. Buckminster Fuller popularized the design in the mid-20th century, there's been something captivating about the geodesic dome. A new dome-based prototype promises an affordable method of rooftop aquaculture for apartment and commercial buildings—as the website calls it, getting "fish from the sky."

The Globe / Hedron bamboo dome would house an aquaponics system—a mini-ecosystem in which plants clean the water where fish swim and fish waste fertilizes the plants—capable of feeding 16 people year-round. The unique structure of the dome, designed by Conceptual Devices, would support the weight of the fish tank, enabling installation on flat roofs without adapting the structure of the building. 

The project's creators promise a harvest of 400 kilograms (about 880 pounds) worth of vegetables and 100 kilograms (about 220 pounds) of fish each year, including everything from tomatoes to spinach to trout. Panels on the dome's exterior would provide both shade and insulation, allowing the the structure to adapt to local environments, while the compact size and easy assembly would enable it to be shipped around the world.

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New Orleans school cultivates a generation of forward-thinking farmers

New Orleans school cultivates a generation of forward-thinking farmers | green streets |
Nat Turner and the hardworking young crew behind Our School at Blair Grocery are bringing healthy soil and fresh food to the Lower Ninth Ward.


Nat Turner, a former New York City public-school teacher, moved to New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward on Thanksgiving Day, 2008. He didn’t know anything about gardening — “I could barely keep a cactus alive” — but he had a vision to start an urban farm that would be a vehicle for educating and empowering the neighborhood’s youth. He’d been making service trips to the Big Easy with students, but he wanted an opportunity to dig deeper, literally and figuratively, into the city’s revitalization.

His first goal, Turner says, “is to figure out how to make the Lower Ninth food secure.” It seems fitting, then, that in a neighborhood with no supermarket, Turner set up shop in a falling-down building that had once housed a black-owned family business called the B&G Grocery.

He filled a pink bathtub in the backyard with soil and planted scallions, which floated away when the bathtub flooded in a rainstorm. That was the beginning of Our School at Blair Grocery (OSBG)...

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Entrepreneurs Keep the Local Food Movement Hot

Entrepreneurs Keep the Local Food Movement Hot | green streets |
Local food businesses play a much more critical role in economic development than commonly thought, a new report shows.

Entrepreneurs are flocking to local food, starting businesses devoted to producing and delivering food within their communities. Just as consumers focus new attention on what we eat and where it comes from, farmers, foodmakers, restaurateurs, retailers, distributors, and processors are rethinking the business models behind it...

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Farm in the city could be supermarket of the future

Farm in the city could be supermarket of the future | green streets |

Big cities are rarely home to thriving farmlands, but a group of Dutch architects hope to change that with the "Park Supermarket" -- an urban farming project that will attempt to grow and sell all the food of a modern supermarket in one place.

The firm behind the proposal, Rotterdam-based Van Bergen Kolpa Architects, intends to produce everything from risotto rice, to kiwis to Tilapia fish all on one 4,000-acre plot of disused land in Randstad, Holland's largest metropolitan area.

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The Local Food System

The Local Food System | green streets |

CITIES is re-interpreting urban farming as an asset for the city economy. This approach to the subject is neither revolutionary nor especially innovative, yet in the collation of an original set of parameters (community activity, urban landscapes and design applications) with existing approaches, new directions emerge...

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Best Farmers Markets - Big U.S. Farmers Markets

Best Farmers Markets - Big U.S. Farmers Markets | green streets |
These are some of the biggest and best farmers markets in the United States, from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon.
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Urban farms won't feed us, but they just might teach us

Urban farms won't feed us, but they just might teach us | green streets |

It's clear that the craze for the urban farm is no answer to feeding our teeming cities. Its value lies instead in how it can change us.

If we want to scale up regional food systems, it seems like it would be a great idea to grow a significant amount of our calories right in our cities. It’s a beautiful concept, reuniting humans and nature to solve many of the problems brought about by our urbanization. But talking to urban farmers and reading the recent research turned a cold hose (of reclaimed rooftop drain water) on my enthusiasm.

There’s a backlash underway against the general exuberance over urban farming, and, surprisingly, it’s coming from urban farmers. It’s a measured, cautious backlash — less pendulum swing than correction...

Suzette Jackson's curator insight, May 1, 2014 8:57 PM

Urban Farming is not the only solution towards feeding the growing population in cities but it certainly contributes to greater food resilience, habitat and biodiversity in cities. It makes a valuable contribution to local economy and food access which is part of a much bigger picture.

Judit Urquijo's curator insight, May 13, 2014 4:08 AM

Nueva vuelta de tuerca a un tema relacionado con los techos verdes, asunto que traté recientemente en esta curación de contenidos. 


En su artículo, Nathanael Johnson alude a los beneficios que pueden suponer estas granjas o huertos urbanos sobre los ciudadanos, tanto desde el punto de vista de acceso a unos productos de calidad como en relación con el beneficio económico que puede generar en los productores. En relación con esta fuente de ingresos, el autor pone como ejemplo la empresa Lula Farms, proyecto que se inicio en una azotea de Montreal y que actualmente proporciona beneficios estables (


Obviamente, son necesarias unas estructuras mínimas tales como una superficie lo suficientemente amplia y plana para que la inversión merezca la pena, siendo igualmente necesaria una estructura sólida que pueda soportar el peso sin problemas. No obstante, también pueden ser viables las conocidas como granjas verticales. 


En este vídeo podéis ver la granja de Montreal citada anteriormente (

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Food For Thought: Why Barcelona’s Markets Are “Super” Places

Food For Thought: Why Barcelona’s Markets Are “Super” Places | green streets |

Parks, squares, street corners, libraries, schools—these are the important social places in many cities. They are the public spaces where we relax and meet friends; in short, the places that we all share. But there is another kind of shared space that often goes unappreciated as a community hub in today’s convenience-oriented cities: the public markets where we buy our food.

While markets were historically important threads of a city’s social fabric, sanitation concerns and a cultural obsession with convenience led to their demise in many western cities in the 1950s. The “super” markets that replaced these vital public spaces were some of the first of what we now know as big box stores, and today, many millions of people around the world rely on these fluorescent, air conditioned megastores.

But in some cities, even in the developed world, traditional public markets still reign supreme!

Norm Miller's curator insight, June 17, 2013 10:40 AM

Markets are part of great turban places.   The permanent ones planned by the cities seem best for display and amenities like places to sit and eat.  

ParadigmGallery's curator insight, July 14, 2013 8:47 PM

1. Barcelona residents rank their public markets as the second most valuable public service after libraries.

2. Barcelona’s markets are used more by disadvantaged groups than by wealthy populations.

3. Markets make it easier for residents to connect with their neighbors, especially when markets are located near other public services such as health care centers, libraries, and schools.



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The Urban Farming Technique That Will Revolutionize the Way We Eat

The Urban Farming Technique That Will Revolutionize the Way We Eat | green streets |

Aquaponics uses fish to create soil-less farms that can fit into cities much easier.

Urban farming today is no longer a hobby practiced by a few dedicated enthusiasts growing food for themselves. It has become a truly innovative field in which pioneering ventures are creating real, robust, and scalable solutions for growing food for large numbers of people directly at the point of consumption. This is great news not only for urban designers, architects, and building engineers, but also for residents and communities that want to increase food security and become more resilient to climate change.

Visit the article link for more information and details on the practice of aquaponics, natural resource efficiency and the potential for large-scale urban cultivation...

Anji Connell's curator insight, April 10, 2013 10:53 PM

'Rooftops present a great opportunity for farming; they are large, unexploited spaces within the city. Most commercial rooftops are also perfectly fit for the technical challenges, in terms of building physics, zoning laws, and system integration with the host building. A standard commercial rooftop in a Western city is about four times the size of our test farm, which means it could produce up to 20 tons of vegetables and four tons of fish — an annual harvest to feed 400. A significant part, if not the entire annual consumption, of fresh fish and vegetables for a building’s tenants could be served through its roof.'

Megan Moore's curator insight, June 1, 2014 2:22 AM

What a great article, this is something that everyone should read. Make sure you read it all before showing your class, so you can answer any questions they have.

Its weird to think the world will be in another ten years time...What will they think of next?


Linked to the Australian Curriculum, Technologies:

-Apply safe procedures when using a variety of materials, components, tools, equipment and techniques to make designed solutions (ACTDEP026)


John Taylor's curator insight, October 27, 2014 5:27 PM

Fish and Fish guts adds organic material-great fertiliser!

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The Impact of Urban Farming in New York

The Impact of Urban Farming in New York | green streets |

Urban farming is a sustainability movement that is giving new purpose to rooftops, patios and unused space. The beauty of urban farming is that it not only produces an abundance of organic, locally grown food, but also has a social, economic and communal impact.

Urban farming has the potential to become a global green evolution, improving the economy, sustainability and health of our urban communities. From North Minneapolis and Milwaukee to Cairo and Montreal, urban farms and gardens are sprouting up as a solution to maximize the use of natural resources such as solar energy, advocating healthy lifestyles and even teaching job skills. 

From rooftop-grown organic herbs to brownstone backyard tomato plants, urban farming is creating green utopias in otherwise unused or abandoned metropolitan spaces.

Read further for more information on urban farming as an agricultural revolution, aiding the change of global urban landscapes.

Katie Elizabeth's curator insight, August 8, 2013 1:20 PM

Cultural landscapes in our cities are changing.  What's your opinion?

Tanja Den Broeder's curator insight, January 21, 2015 7:54 PM

Always keep on looking at the greening Big Apple...

Kayla, Sean, and Max's curator insight, February 26, 2015 1:25 PM


Rooftop spaces in New York are starting to become used for urban farming and are resulting in many benefits. They maximize the use of space in the city, and help support healthy lifestyles within the city. They also provide another source of income for some of the many people that live in it, boosting the economy.

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Farmscape Brings Urban Agriculture to Los Angeles

Farmscape Brings Urban Agriculture to Los Angeles | green streets |
Farmscape is bringing farms to the homes and businesses of Los Angeles. Oh, and the company is also trying to run for mayor of the city.

In a dry and sunny city like Los Angeles, planting grass is one of the more useless ways to use your property. It takes a lot of water to grow and it's expensive—but beyond that, what's the point when the climate supports much more interesting flora, like succulents, and delicious ones, like fruits and vegetables?

A company called Farmscape is proving that there's enough of an appetite for farming on residential land to turn the proposition into a high-growth business. The less-than-four-year-old company has 12 full-time employees—including seven farmers who receive a living wage plus healthcare—and is looking to keep growing.

"One of the things that people don’t talk about when they talk about the food system is who is working," says Rachel Bailin, Farmscape's marketing manager. It's often poorly paid and vulnerable migrant workers. But the company is changing that by bringing farm labor out into the open, into the yards of city-dwellers and businesses. So far they've installed more than 300 urban farms throughout the L.A. area and maintain 150 of them weekly...

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How Urban Farming can Transform our Cities & our Agricultural System

How Urban Farming can Transform our Cities & our Agricultural System | green streets |

As concerns mount over the accessibility and quality of meals in cities, urban agriculture is becoming a practical solution to give communities more choice—all while helping address greenhouse gas emissions from centralized agriculture.
With more than 80 percent of the American population living in metropolitan centers, urban farming has the ability to dramatically enhance economic growth, increase food quality and build healthier communities.

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The New Era of Urban Agriculture | Sustainable Cities Collective

The New Era of Urban Agriculture | Sustainable Cities Collective | green streets |

A flux of design proposals has emerged over the last few years that respond to the increasing interest in food security and sustainability.

While cities have historically provided productive spaces for growing food out of necessity, the proposals in Carrot City represent an effort to think more coherently and strategically about food production. They show how urban agriculture can become infrastructure for re-integrating food production into the urban fabric in meaningful ways, eventually becoming, as the authors argue, as imperative to a city’s functioning as public sanitation systems...

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Rooftop Farms

Rooftop Farms | green streets |
Brooklyn Grange, believed to be the world's largest rooftop farm, is expanding to the Brooklyn Navy Yard.


Brooklyn Grange Farm is Expanding to a 45K Square Foot Rooftop in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  This is a stunning example of urban agriculture designed to produce local food, even with limited spatial resources.

Via Seth Dixon
Steve Westgate's comment, February 8, 2012 8:51 AM
Urban agriculture has been an excellent project to form community bonding in all the United States cities that participate. Production of the foods that are provided by urban agriculture could not feed the local population as a hole, but part of the harvests are usually donated to the local food banks for the needy. So many roof tops in our cities could be used for farming. Most of our abandoned properties could also be used for agriculture. My community has had and will have local growers, who will sell their produce rather cheap and give a portion to local shelters, food banks, and state run faculties.
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“Food Deserts” in Canadian Cities Prevent Revitalization

“Food Deserts” in Canadian Cities Prevent Revitalization | green streets |
Efforts to attract affluent residents to live in new downtown redevelopment projects are being hampered by a lack of basic amenities - most notable of which is access to grocery stores within walking distance.

“Food deserts” are urban areas with limited access to healthy and affordable foods. Initial research has identified serious food deserts in Saskatoon, Kingston and London, while cities such as Edmonton and Montreal were found to have generally good food access. Food deserts are often tied to low socio-economic income status and are associated with a variety of diet-related health problems.

Steve Kingsley's curator insight, July 20, 2013 8:47 PM

No "food deserts" if you are willing to cook at home....

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Back to the Start

Back to the Start | green streets |

As more and more empty and abandoned lots are transformed into active, productive neighborhood farms, communities begin to gain control of providing for themselves. As more and more rooftops are becoming vibrant gardens, like this one in Brooklyn, Gotham Greens, healthier produce is available to urban communities that may have not had access to organic fruits and vegetables previously.

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Could cities rely 100% on urban agriculture for their food?

Could cities rely 100% on urban agriculture for their food? | green streets |
A recent study finds that cities could use vacant lots, rooftops, and backyards for urban agriculture to become self-reliant in basic food needs.
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