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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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Arctic Harvester Proposes Large-Scale Hydroponic-Farming Near Greenland

Arctic Harvester Proposes Large-Scale Hydroponic-Farming Near Greenland | green streets |

Arctic Harvester was the first prize winning entry in the “Innovation and Architecture for the Sea” category of the Jacques Rougerie Foundation International Architecture Competition, 2013.  It proposes an itinerant soil-less agricultural infrastructure designed to drift the circulating ocean currents between Greenland and Canada, exploiting the nutrient-rich fresh water released by melting icebergs as the basis for a large-scale hydroponic-farming system. The floating facility is equipped to house a community of 800 people, inspired in its compact urban form by vertically oriented, bayside Greenlandic villages and their social, cultural and economic relationship to the sea.

More details at the link.

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Data Farming: Demonstrating the Benefits of Urban Agriculture [INFOGRAPHIC]

Data Farming: Demonstrating the Benefits of Urban Agriculture [INFOGRAPHIC] | green streets |

Design Trust put together a metrics framework that measured the associated activities of urban agriculture with the known benefits derived from various studies to convince city officials of urban farming's positive impact.

Transforming underutilized land into productive urban farms was one of the many topics which were presented at the recent Kansas City Design Week.  Jerome Chou, past Director of Programs at the Design Trust for Public Space, presented his unique experience with the implementation of the Five Boroughs Farm in New York City and the impact that urban agriculture can have on low-income areas of a city.

Chou pointed out that having the land available for an urban farm is only half of the battle. The other half involves changing local zoning laws, influencing political opinion, garnering economic support, and proving the project will have a net benefit to a community...

Marcus Taylor's curator insight, August 4, 2013 3:40 AM

Urban Agriculture faces a myriad of challenges to enter the mainstream of urban development in the pursuit of "SmartCities" Worth a browse.

Daniel Moura's curator insight, January 23, 2015 4:22 AM
Many cities (like NYC) are leaving old prejudices behind and are converting green areas and unused land to urban agriculture. Improving food security and resilience, reduce city's ecological footprint, supporting pollinators, increasing biodiversity and building sense of community are just a few examples of the benefits it provides
Eric Larson's curator insight, February 13, 2017 12:49 PM
Benefits of urban agriculture?
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The 8 Most Interesting Ideas to Revolutionize Urban Farms

The 8 Most Interesting Ideas to Revolutionize Urban Farms | green streets |
These vertical spaces could change how we grow.

As the vertical farming trend has taken off in recent years, many architects and designers have begun tackling the question of how to marry agriculture with architecture. Here’s a look at some of our favorite concepts (most of them un-built) for fanciful food-producing pyramids, geodesic domes, flower pods, and insects

Visit the link for a list of conceptual projects ranging from Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut‘s design for the 132-story Dragonfly, a solar- and wind-powered vertical-garden concept for New York City’s Roosevelt Island— to Plantagon’s now-iconic design for a geodesic greenhouse...

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Renewable energy schemes help boost farmers' profits

Renewable energy schemes help boost farmers' profits | green streets |
Surge in use of wind and solar power is providing secondary income for agriculture sector, in addition to rural tourism...

More than a quarter of all farmers have not just green fields but "green" barns too, thanks to a surge in the use of solar panels and wind turbines.

Renewable energy is promising to overtake rural tourism as a secondary income for the agricultural sector, with 200 megawatts of power – enough for 40,000 households – installed, according to joint research by the National Farmers' Union (NFU) and NatWest bank.

They found that one in six farmers will have solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in place by the middle of this year and one in five will be producing clean electricity by this date. If this trend continues, as much as 15% of all UK electricity from renewable sources come from the land by the end of this decade, they believe...

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Visualizing the "edible city" in three minutes

Visualizing the "edible city" in three minutes | green streets |

The American Society of Landscape Architects has produced another great video, this one about growing food in cities. I'm a big fan of ASLA's work, in part because of their terrific skill at public and professional communications.

This particular project contains both a short introduction to the subject of urban gardening and illustrations of a variety of types. Personally, I have come to prefer the word "gardening" over "farming" when it comes to growing food in cities, because... I like the idea of keeping cities compact to conserve land for real farms outside the urban-suburban footprint, while gardening at a lot or neighborhood scale inside the city boundary.

For me, the key test is whether in any particular instance city food-growing supports urban density and other aspects of urban life. If it does, I'm all in; if, instead, it conflicts, it's probably in the wrong place. Of course, everything is situational and subject to context.

The included video is full of great examples of how to produce food in ways highly compatible with cities and city living. Click on the link to enjoy the video...

Via Jandira Feijó
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A 'Vertical Greenhouse' Could Make a Swedish City Self-Sufficient

A 'Vertical Greenhouse' Could Make a Swedish City Self-Sufficient | green streets |
Growing these plants in the city will make food production less costly both for the environment and for consumers.

The future of urban farming is under construction in Sweden as agricultural design firm Plantagon works to bring a 12-year-old vision to life: The city of Linköping will soon be home to a 17-story "vertical greenhouse."

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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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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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Urban Agriculture Grows Up: Rooftop Greenhouses and Vertical Farms

Urban Agriculture Grows Up: Rooftop Greenhouses and Vertical Farms | green streets |

A wave of rooftop greenhouses and vertical farms captures the imagination of architects while offering an alternative to conventional cultivation methods.

Community-gardening advocates have sold urban farming as a sustainable local alternative to industrial-scale farming and as an educational platform for healthier living. And municipalities are buying in, adopting urban ag to transform vacant lots into productive civic assets.

In the last two or three years, however, entrepreneurial urban farmers have opened a new frontier with a different look and operating model than most community gardens. Their terrain is above the ground, not in it. Working with help from engineers, architects, and city halls, they have sown rooftops and the interiors of buildings worldwide. “There’s a lot of activity right now, and there is huge potential to do more of it,” says Gregory Kiss, principal at Brooklyn-based architecture firm Kiss + Cathcart.

Visit the article link for more on recent innovations in urban agriculture and vertical farming...

jean-guy Jais's curator insight, July 3, 2013 10:30 PM

very interesting

Zé Estrada Ar's comment, July 8, 2013 1:51 AM
Fortunately I live in a country filled with big farms, but it's a good iniciative.
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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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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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A Pickup Truck Grows an Educational Mini-Farm

A Pickup Truck Grows an Educational Mini-Farm | green streets |
A literal food truck expands the creative arsenal of urban agriculture.

If the Lorax were to ever actually award a "Certified Truffula Tree of Approval" to a moving vehicle, it'd be a lot more likely to go to a garden-toting truck that brings farms to schools than to a Mazda SUV.

A literal "food truck," Truck Farm Chicago is a nonprofit organization that uses a 1994 Ford F-250 named Petunia to chauffeur a miniature farm. The project, which revved into gear on Earth Day, is a collaboration between sustainable development nonprofit Seven Generations Ahead and eco-friendly book-printer Green Sugar Press, a recent GOOD Maker finalist whose co-founders Shari Brown and Tim Magner were inspired by King Corn director Ian Cheney’s first truck farm in Brooklyn, NY...

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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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Transforming a derelict city building into vertical gardens for nearby residents | Switchboard, from NRDC

Transforming a derelict city building into vertical gardens for nearby residents | Switchboard, from NRDC | green streets |
Aspiring interior designer Lucie Sadakova has come up with a striking concept to bring more green space and nourishment into a scruffy part of London. And, despite being in a sense all about an outdoor activity, it is in fact an interior transformation, a proposed adaptive reuse of an old building way past its prime.

For her final degree project at university, Sadakova designed a concept she calls Multileveled Vertical Urban Allotments, which in plain English means hollowing out the guts of an old warehouse, opening up its roof and (enlarged) windows to the elements, and filling the space with a sort of stacked series of green plots that could be gardened by nearby residents...

Via Flora Moon
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A Farm-Based Neighborhood Grows in Illinois

A Farm-Based Neighborhood Grows in Illinois | green streets |
Many communities complain about suburban sprawl, but not many really do anything about it. One developer, however, has found a way to contain sprawl and conserve working farms at the same time.

Developer John DeWald & Associates recently broke ground on Serosun Farms, an innovative conservation community situated over 400 acres of countryside.

“The vision of Serosun Farms is to protect and preserve our land from future development and suburban sprawl,” says John DeWald, one of the principals in the firm. The company hopes to blend agricultural preservation and sustainable living in one neighborhood where much of the needed energy will be produced on site and all the homes will be high-performance buildings.

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