Food City

Grow, Process, Eat, Digest

Research project, design studios, workshops, conferences

The old Rome with its large storage of grain had only enough reserves for about three days. For today’s cities, this is even less. – Cities have a symbiotic relationship with food. They are highly dependent on reliable supply, while what is left over after consumption forms a challenge for the cities infrastructure. If either fails, consequences can be lethal. Food means safety for the city.

Cities are nodes global network of production and transportation of food. This network potentially provides healthy and diverse food, but is at the same time a weak point for cities. And it has a large impact on the environment. The production and transportation of food are responsible for a large share of today’s global emission of greenhouse gasses. This is why more advanced plans for eco-cities such as Dongtan include plans for local food production. Food is essential for the environment.

Cities are not only consuming food, they are also digesting and disposing it. In modern cities, this happens in a one way direction: in agriculture nutritions are taken from the soil and absorbed by plants. When they are consumed in cities, the get flushed away without recycling and are often disposed in the sea. As a consequence, agricultural grounds are in constant need of fertilizers while nutrition accumulate in the oceans. Food needs closed cycles.
Reasons enough to make powerful designs for the hungry city! In this studio we explore the possibilities of local food production. The question is simple: What is needed to provide a city of one million people with all the food it needs in the city itself or in its direct surrounding?

We explore the question on various scales:

If the food is produced around the city, what new landscapes can we imagine? What is the next step in advanced agriculture?

If we use new technologies, how much food production can we merge into the city? What new typologies can we create? How will buildings, how will parks change? How can we plan closed cycles that make an end to the waste of nutrition? What is the best design for the Hungry City?