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Future Farm City

May 16, 2010 - 8:00pm to June 3, 2010 - 8:00pm

FUTURE FARM CITY: Growing Opportunities for Urban Agriculture

Design Research led by Brian Holland, KSA LeFevre Fellow 2009-10
(with ARCH 844 and LARCH 644)

Over the last half-century, changes in American farming practices and urban development patterns have achieved near total territorial and cultural segregation between the activities of food production and consumption. In particular, the agricultural regions of the Midwest are often characterized by dense monocultures of commodity crops and fragmented communities of part-time farmers who often must sell their land to pay the bills, or commute to nearby towns and cities to seek additional work. Meanwhile, urban dwellers often possess little understanding of where their food comes from or how it is produced. Now, in the search for more sustainable modes of practice, architects, landscape architects, and planners have begun to see urban agriculture as one possible means of bold urban infrastructural transformation. If urban agriculture is to play an increasingly important role in the future of the American city, what sorts of spaces might it occupy, what form might it take, and how might it be practiced? How might our buildings, landscapes, and the nature of urban culture change as a result? What might life be like for us in a Future Farm City?

The research presented in the Banvard Gallery – conducted in coordination with two graduate-level design studios at the Knowlton School of Architecture – proposes a framework for urban agriculture which addresses the condition of low-density 'sprawl' typified by American cities like Columbus, Ohio. The proposals examine various opportunistic hybridizations or 'piggy-backings' of agricultural production systems onto a range of urban development types in an effort to intensify both agricultural and urban productivity, and to provide new cultural status for the future landscapes of urban food production.