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  • Edible Infrastructures: Seed for a City

    Edible Infrastructures: Seed for a City
    London, UNITED KINGDOM

    CENTER FOR URBAN FARMING COMPETITION
    Second Place – $800

    suckerPUNCH: describe your project.

    Darrick BOROWSKI / Jeroen JANSSEN / Nicoletta POULIMENI : Edible Infrastructures: Seed for A City
    We propose a neighborhood to serve as a Center for Urban Farming for Brooklyn and the greater New York City region. This new neighborhood type is organized around edible infrastructures, a systems-based approach to the food production, distribution, consumption and waste cycles.



    The Center as Neighborhood transcends the traditional institutional model to become a working community illustrating by example how the food system could be re-imagined via a new urban morphology which:

    a.) Creates an ecology which can provide fruits and vegetables for its residents within the walk-able boundaries of the system via local, multi-scalar, distributed food production
    b.) Enhances agricultural production by reconnecting the traditional waste-nutrient cycle which was lost with industrial farming
    c.) De-couples food costs from fossil fuels by limiting food transportation at all levels, from source to table

    The neighborhood is generated by our Settlement Simulation, a computational model based on a multi-state cellular automata. The model uses simple behavioral rules to recreate the aggregation logic of dwellings and small subsistence farms in a given area via an ‘unplanned’ vernacular methodology. The goal of the simulation was to investigate the sorts of distributions and collective form that might result without the oversight of a top-down ‘planner’.

    More than a center or a neighborhood, our proposal is a prototype; an algorithmic procedural model for urban growth which considers food as an integral part of a cities’ energy infrastructure.

    sP: what or who influenced this project?

    dB/jJ/nP: Edible Infrastructures is a product of our exploration of urban metabolism and self-organization in biological systems undertaken as part of the Emergent Technologies and Design department at the Architectural Association. We are heavily indebted to our mentors and colleagues there, as well as the work of Viljoen and Bohn (CPULs), Frei Otto’s work on Occupying and Connecting, Richard TT Forman’s research in Landscape & Urban Ecology, and Stephen Marshall’s CIties, Design & Evolution.

    sP: what were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?

    dB/jJ/nP: Hungry City, Carolyn Steel
    Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes, André Viljoen, Katrin Bohn, Joe Howe
    The Architecture of Emergence, Mike Weinstock
    CIties, Design & Evolution, Stephen Marshall
    Land Mosaics, Richard Foreman
    Manuel Delanda, Philosophy and Simulation
    Out of Control, Kevin Kelly
    Critical Mass, Phillip Ball

    sP: whose work is currently on your radar?

    dB/jJ/nP: AMID/Cero9
    WorkAC
    Gene Giacomelli’s Lunar and South Pole Greenhouses
    Raumlabor Berlin

    Thanks to Mike Weinstock, George Jeronimidis and the whole EmTech crew who have been a source of tremendous guidance and support.

    Jury Comments:

    Michael SZIVOS: This is one of the most appropriate proposals. It visualizes a strategy rather than a project. It is refreshing to see something that is both appropriate and very compelling. The results have the potential to produce a design or master plan that actually operates in an ecological way rather than “looking” ecological.

    Ronnie PARSONS: The shift from a single site to a distributed network of settlements provides an interesting method of addressing the separation of urban dwellers from their food sources. This proposal thoughtfully speculates on a number of important issues surrounding the production and distribution of food; however, I would have liked to of seen a finer resolution of some of these ideas.

    Keith VANDERSYS: The project is well-conceived and executed. It’s an interesting approach to urban farms. Through a systemic rather than singular approach, the project supports and emulates the seasonal variability and volatility inherent in farming cycles. Also, it’s an innovative response to the competition site. Rather than conceiving the site as a single space, the project re-envisions the site as a linkage between urban districts. I also really liked the design logic of using local block parameters for the aggregation of a food network.

    Lonn COMBS: Strong analytical approach with a proposal that could become an extension to the existing urban fabric. THe public program center is somewhat gratuitous and begins to undermine the larger idea of the dispersed opportunistic approach to the farming infrastructure.

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