Productive Urban Landscapes

Research and practice around the CPUL design concept

Illistration of a perspective of someone's view outward at agriculture and the Thames as they eat. (Source: Future Architecture, 2021)

Greater London Agriculture, UK

During first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) launched the architectural competition Rethink: 2025. Considering the role of architectural industry in shaping a better post-pandemic world, architects and students were asked to think of life in 2025 and submit positive and tangible responses to issues arising from the pandemic, specifically – how can design mitigate its worst effects?

One of the three joint winning projects was Tim Rodber and Dominic Walker’s Greater London Agriculture (GLA). They designed an urban agricultural landscape for the city of London as a mitigation strategy against future pandemics. As our current industrialized food production helps zoonoses to spread they want to shape urban space as an ecologically diverse, agricultural landscape. The idea is to embed urban green spaces in and around the city just like in CPUL-concept, with patchworks of food production and linking corridors of biodiversity as along the Thames. Also, GLA proposes funded education that allows trailblazing farmers to learn necessary skills and pass on their knowledge.

The Greater London Agriculture masterplan by Tim Rodber and Dominic Walker, joint winner of RIBA Rethink 2025. (source: The RIBA Journal 2020)

The Greater London Masterplan connects patchworks of food production with linking corridors. (Source: The RIBA Journal, 2020)

The judges of the RIBA competition saw potential in taking into account that for our climate change commitments we need to change all three spheres of sustainability: the social, economic and environmental. Bringing back the relationship between cities and agriculture, it works ‘at different levels; some things you do yourself, government takes responsibility for others. It creates public space and bike/pedestrian networks, which is good.’ It also combines top down and bottom up and stands as a small part in shift to diversified agricultural system. In a way of prevention it rethinks life to mitigate against future pandemics and deals at the same time with current dilemmas.

The current status of the project is not clear as its website is offline. But the idea shaped in the RIBA competition is still worth mentioning, tackling hurdles that are critically relevant today.

Illustration of livestock in front of a schoool building with tower blocks in the background. (Source: Future Architecture, 2021)

Greater London Agriculture draft for a school and an urban farm with shared spaces (source: Future Architecture 2021)


+++ researched and written by our colleague Antonia +++


For further information on the award-winning project Greater London Agriculture see here.

For (further) information see the competition’s website.

For (further) information on the News post on this blog see here.


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* green infrastructure* urban agricultureLondon

Jasmine Cook • 2nd September 2017

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