Productive Urban Landscapes

Research and practice around the CPUL design concept

Architect’s drawing of what inside a Buzz Building would look like. (Source: Belatchew Arkitekter, 2022)

Buzz Buildings insect farms, Sweden

Belatchew Architects of Sweden are pioneering the design of alternative food solution urban farms, what they call ‘Buzz Buildings’. Buzz Buildings, at the moment still a design proposal, would be insect farms for the purpose of consumption that are positioned on Stockholm’s major roundabouts. If nine of these urban farms were in operation, it could…

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Devil’s Dyke in the South Downs shows the hilly grasslands which so much of Changing Chalk will be focused around. (Source: Countryside Jobs Service, 2022)

Changing Chalk Partnership, UK

The South Downs National Park is situated on the Northern urban fringes Eastbourne and runs all the way across Brighton and Hove up to Winchester, spanning 140km. Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and led by the National Trust, Changing Chalk is a partnership soon to be undertaken across the downs with 18 interlinked…

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The map of Land Use of the Down. (source: Brighton and Hove City Council 2020)

City Downland Estate Plan, UK

As rural estate covers much of the urban fringe of the city Brighton and Hove, the City Council has developed a green infrastructure project for it – the City Downland Estate Plan. The communally-owned farmland to the North consists of approximately 12,800 acres within the South Downs National Park. Acquired by the Council in the…

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Stone walls of a castle are surrounded by rows of vegetables and a public pathway. (Source: Urban Green Blue Grids, 2022)

Edible city of Andernach, Germany

Andernach city has developed it’s public green spaces as vegetable and fruit patches for all to freely pick, contribute to and enjoy. The city’s intentions are multifunctional – they hope that by transforming public spaces into food producing public areas that they enhance the biodiversity, ecology, economy and attraction to the city as well as…

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Edible Mapping, UK

Dr Mikey Tomkins, honorary research fellow at University of Brighton, works within the field of urban agriculture through academic research and artistic practises. Dr Tomkins has worked in Iraq and the US mapping and creating community gardens for refugees. He has also spent time training beekeepers and building over 50 apiaries across London. Dr Mikey…

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(source: International Bauausstellungen www 2022)

Emscher Park, Germany

Beginning in 1989, the declining industrial Ruhr region of Germany underwent a transformation as part of the Internationale Bauausstellung (IBA) Emscher Park. After the closure of most industrial plants and mines, there were many open spaces left and much wasteland. The IBA Emscher Park project was initiated by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia with the aim to repair…

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Drawing highlighting the permaculture system. (Source: The Food Forest Project, 2022)

The Food Forest Project, UK

This project in Somerset uses permaculture techniques to create productive plots of land. Aiming to benefit communities, they offer the opportunity to harvest free and organic fruits and vegetables, to engage themselves through a volunteering program which aims to improve mental health and to increase biodiversity and enhance the ecology of the areas they work…

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View of some of the crop rows at Fresh City Farm with an urban background of Toronto buildings. (Source: Carrot City, 2022)

Fresh City Farms, Downsview Park, Canada

Downsview Park is an urban park situated in northern Toronto. With the desire to investigate the viability of urban farming and understand community interest, the park launched a pilot project in 2011 which showed there was a keen interest for food sustainable programs to be integrated into the urban environment. In 2019 Fresh City Farms…

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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…

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Map of the Green C. (Source: Freude Joy Joie Bonn 2022)

Green C Project, Germany

The Grünes” C or Green C project, covers almost 4 hectares of area with the aim to protect, connect and enhance open spaces across the municipalities of Alfter, Bonn, Bornheim, Niederkassel, Sankt Augustin and Troisdorf. Beginning as a pilot project in 2005 the Green C project focuses on nature conservation, preservation & development of agriculture and…

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Map of New York indicating each community garden. (Source: Greenthumb, 2022)

Greenthumb, USA

Greenthumb is operated by the New York City Parks Department. It is the country’s largest urban gardening program, providing support to over 600 community gardens around New York City. There are over 20 000 volunteers who manage the gardens. Greenthumb provides programming, workshops and material support to these volunteers. The majority of Greenthumb gardens are…

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A wooden footpath leads through a grassy field with cable cars seen above. (Source: GrunBerlin, 2022)

GrunBerlin, Germany

GruneBerlin is a state-owned company delivering green infrastructure throughout Berlin. They operate over 700 hectares of urban open spaces such as ‘squares and parks, tourist guidance systems, sustainable mobility offers, [and] memorials’. With every project they undertake holding a shared goal of ‘to change Berlin in a sustainable way’. Their projects within Berlin have led…

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Aerial image of the vision of the Patrick Henry Village. (Source: IBA Heidelberg 2022)

Heidelberg’s PHVision, Germany

For its urban real-life laboratory ‘PHVision’ in Heidelberg, Germany’s most influential urban regeneration tool International Building Exhibition (IBA) creates a productive city landscape. A large international team set up a Dynamic Master Plan that was agreed on by the municipal council in 2020. The development process was also accompanied by citizen participation. The former US…

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A wheat field can be seen behind a trees. (Source: On the Grid, 2022)

Herzberge Landscape Park, Germany

Herzberge Landscape Park in Berlin replaces a former 100 hectare industrial space. What used to be a railyard and stadium is now orchards, paddocks and livestock.  From 2003 the site has been redeveloped into urban agricultural lands and park lands. Sheep have been grazing the paddocks on a rotation system since 2009 and they’re one…

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Entrance to market area with peoplpe walking around. (Source: Odlande stadsbasarer www 2022)

Högdalen Farm, Sweden

In the southern suburb of Högdalen, Stockholm beneath a shopping centre, you can find a high-technology farming space. Fresh herbs and lettuce are being grown in this underground farm as part of the innovation project Odlande stadsbasarer (Growing City Bazaars). Connected through the vision of a sustainable, employment-creating urban development cities, organizations and companies work…

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A bridge connects to the city over a very large park area. (Source: Arena Zone Hotel 2022)

Jardín del Turia, Spain

The Jardín del Turia in Valencia is a park created on the old riverbed of the Turia River after the city diverted it’s path to prevent flooding. In 1957 the river flooded ¾ of the city, causing severe damage and 60 deaths, and so a plan was conceived to prevent future flood damage and ensure…

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Members checking on their produce. (Source: Self-sustainability, 2022)

Little Donkey Farm, China

With the development of urbanisation and industrialisation in China, rural land is occupied for commercial values, and people living in the cities are isolated from fresh agricultural products. Meanwhile, because of the abuse of chemical inputs, food security problems are becoming more evident. Building a sustainable food system with social-economic value seems to be more…

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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…

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Madeira Terrace Urban Farm, UK

As a first year architecture student at the University of Brighton, I finished the module ‘Design, technology and architectural practises’ in June. The module required students to design a building which would operate an urban farm in Brighton. The existing site is the grade 2 listed historical Victorian Madeira Terrace along Brighton seafront. The crop…

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Aerial photo showing expanse of the symbiotic landscape (source: Zhejiang China 2022)

The Mulberry Dike Fish Pond System, China

One of the food production systems we explored recently is the Mulberry Dike Fish Pond System. Being a productive agricultural landscape in its own right, Dong Chu suggested to revisit it as part of a potential Productive Urban Landscape. In 2017, the Mulberry Dike Fish Pond System in Huzhou, Zhejiang province, was identified by the…

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