Productive Urban Landscapes

Research and practice around the CPUL design concept

Image: Ahuntsic rooftop greenhouse amongst other buildings. (source: Seeds of Good Anthropocenes, 2022)

Lufa Farms, Canada

In 2011 Lufa Farms built the worlds first commercial rooftop greenhouse to the scale of nine and a half thousand square meters. Since then they have completed 3 more, building on top of industrial buildings in Montreal, Quebec. Their aim is to take advantage of existing spaces to create sustainable, low energy and year-round-harvesting greenhouses feeding the city from within.

The operation involves a system in which harvesting can be done based on customised orders, and delivery is spread throughout the city to pick up points which often are within areas with fewer access to supermarkets.

Inside Ahuntsic Greenhouse rows of hydroponically grown crops are growing. (source: Roasted, 2022)

Crops are grown using both horizontal and vertical hydroponic systems. (source: Michelle Little 2022)

All of their greenhouses use hydroponic systems, collect rainwater and re-circulate the irrigation water. They’re most recent build, the Ville Saint-Laurent rooftop greenhouse is the worlds largest urban farm at 50,000 square meters. With each new greenhouse built Lufa Farms develop their technology. Ville Saint-Laurent was completed in 2020, and is so far their most energy efficient greenhouse. It collects rain and melt water and has included double glazing and thermal curtains to improve insulation. It also includes an internal composting system to close the loop on waste.

Exterior shot of the top of a warehouse style building with a very large greenhouse system on the entire surface of the roof. (source: Gulf Today, 2022)

The Ville Saint-Laurent rooftop greenhouse is the largest urban farm in the world. (source: Gulf Today, 2022)

Their Laval rooftop greenhouse is an example of what they aim to further implement and inspire other cities to do. The greenhouse was designed and constructed at the same time as the building it sits on. Lufa Farms envision urban farms being incorporated into designs becoming a must when designing new buildings within cities.

Lufa Farms has exemplified using innovative strategies which allow the creation of productive spaces within cities which do not take up new space. This strategy offers valuable information for other cities. Their vision of designing buildings in cities with incorporated urban farms becoming commonplace encourages a future where the urban landscape and the agricultural one are not as easily separated.

Staff hand pick tomatoes inside a greenhouse. (source: Gulf Today, 2022)

With each greenhouse Lufa Farms develop their technology to create lighter, more sustainable and more efficient rooftop farms. (source: Gulf Today, 2022)


For further information see the project’s own website.

Image: Ahuntsic rooftop greenhouse amongst other buildings. (source: Seeds of Good Anthropocenes, 2022)


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* building-integrated agriculture* urban agriculture* urban design

Jasmine Cook • 1st July 2017

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