Productive Urban Landscapes

Research and practice around the CPUL design concept

A collaged image shows people tending to agricultural fields in an urban environment. (Source: R-URBAN, 2022)

R-URBAN, France

R-URBAN is a strategy with the hopes to operate throughout cities across Europe to ‘explore alternative to the current models of living, producing and consuming in cities, suburbs and rural areas’. Relying on the active involvement of the citizen, the strategy introduces networks which allow facilities in economy, housing, urban agriculture and culture to be more circularly operated with one another. The aim is to create a balance between production and consumption in order to tackle the current crises facing our lives today (‘climate, resources, economic, demographic’). R-URBAN believe in order to accomplish this, the strategy must work as ‘bottom-up’ concept, creating support networks for citizens by citizens on local levels.

people work in vegetable patches in front of a timber building in an urban environment. (Source: R-URBAN, 2022)

The current development of AgroCite in Colombes has many vegetable patches, a micro-development area, a farm shop, cultural areas and composting and rainwater collection facilities. (Source: R-URBAN, 2022)

R-Urban’s pilot project is located over a number of sites in Colombes, Paris.  It will operate a network around three units which tackle resilience – AgroCite, RecycLab and ECoHab. AgroCite is an agricultural unit consisting of ‘a micro-experimental farm, community gardens, composting and rainwater recycling, educational and cultural spaces as well as devices for energy production’. RecycLab is a building hosting equipment used for recycling urban waste into eco-materials used for construction. ECoHab is a ‘cooperative and ecological residential unit’ which consists of experimental housing units including social flats, researcher and student residences and partially self-built community spaces. These three units will operate symbiotically to enhance the capacity of urban resilience to the aforementioned crisis.

A diagram showing how the circular system of the three units of R-URBAN works. (Source: R-URBAN, 2022)

The three units operating in Colombes under the R-URBAN strategy work a circular system. (Source: R-URBAN, 2022)

Another project developed by project partner Public Works is Wick on Wheels (WOW) is a mobile production unit operating in Hackney Wick, London which encourages ‘collective in-situ production using local material and know-how’.

In a continuous productive urban landscape networks such as those being created by R-URBAN would be invaluable. Currently their pilot project and strategy model offers much information on necessary considerations, possibilities for and potential public interest in circular system focused alternative ways of living.

People walk between trees and a timber building. (Source: R-URBAN, 2022)

RecycLab recycles urban waste into eco-construction materials. (Source: R-URBAN, 2022)


For further information see the project’s own website.

Image: A vision for further development at AgroCite includes green-roofing the building and expanding the agricultural fields. (Source: R-URBAN, 2022)


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* edible city networks* urban agriculture

Jasmine Cook • 1st April 2017

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