Sustainable Food in the City: 10 Smart Urban Farm Designs
By Steph,
Web Urbanist, 18 March 2015.

The world’s largest indoor farm has already proven just how amazingly successful food production can be outside of standard agricultural setups, and these 10 urban farm designs and concepts take the possibilities even further by taking advantage of disused spaces, reaching high into the sky and employing modular, portable, prefabricated configurations.

1. Jenga-Like Urban Farming Ecosystem by OVA Studio


The Hive-Inn City Farm is a prefabricated, modular farming structure that could bring fresh, locally grown food to busy urban districts.


The structure reclaims shipping containers and stacks them in a Jenga-like configuration, with each container dedicated to a specific function from growing a certain type of food to recycling waste. The design echoes that of OVA Studio’s original Hive Inn concept, which uses the containers as individual hotel rooms.

2. SPARK Senior Living Centre and Vertical Farm Concept


This concept by SPARK Architects solves two problems in one by combining housing for Singapore’s rapidly aging population with urban food production.


The ‘home farm’ creates a lush, vibrant garden environment that’s pleasant to live in while also catering specifically to the needs of seniors and using a vertical system to grow edibles, offering part-time employment for residents in the gardens.

3. Mini Harvesting Station for Forgotten City Spaces


On a smaller scale, various spaces around the city that aren’t being put to good use could serve as temporary locations for miniature farms; that is the idea behind the Harvesting Station by Conceptual Devices.


The station can grow up to 200 plants within 43 square feet, and is topped with a water harvesting tower that irrigates the plants automatically.

4. Vertical SkyFarm for Korea


Downtown Seoul, South Korea could become a powerhouse food production centre if concepts like Aprilli’s vertical Urban Skyfarm are actually built, potentially sustaining a significant number of the city’s large population.


The tree-shaped structure frees up space on the ground while raising ‘leaf’ platforms far above street level for access to sunlight, and serves as an iconic symbol of sustainability.

5. Geodesic Rooftop Greenhouse for Urban Farmers


Another small-scale rooftop farming solution is the Globe (Hedron) by Conceptual Devices, a geodesic dome for flat urban rooftops that’s framed with bamboo and functions as an aquaponic system to produce both fish and vegetables. Each greenhouse can feed four families of four year-round.

6. Shipping Container Farming on Industrial Rooftops


The large, flat rooftops of industrial buildings are an ideal space for the installation of urban farms, taking advantage of all that sunlight and wasted real estate. Hence the ‘Urban Farmers Rooftop’ in Basel, Switzerland.


Designed by architect Antonio Scarponi, it features prefabricated modules including reclaimed shipping containers to house an aquaponic system producing fish and vegetables.

7. Edible Algae Grown on Bangkok Skyscraper Rooftops


High-protein, edible ‘Skyline Spirulina’ algae is grown in dozens of barrels on top of a skyscraper rooftop in Bangkok.


Sustainable food production company Energaia transforms previously unused rooftops into urban farms to produce large quantities of this vegetarian alternative to meat, which is typically added to pass and smoothies.

8. Moyo Waterfront Restaurant and Urban Farm


The new ‘Moyo’ development in South Africa brings together a two-story waterfront restaurant, open air market and urban farm with stalls made of prefabricated modular units sheltered by a solar panel canopy.


Fresh greens and tilapia are grown on-site for the restaurant, and an aquaponic green wall inside the restaurant doubles as a decorative focal point. The project aims to tell a story about food, from production to plate, focusing on the culinary experience from growth to preparation to consumption to fertilization via food waste.

9. Portable Stacked Urban Farm Unit


Build your own shipping container-based urban greenhouse with the open-source Urban Farm Unit by Damien Chivialle, which doubles the height of the container with a greenhouse extension while maintaining a small footprint and easy-to-move configuration.


Employing aquaponics, the farming system can be set up virtually anywhere there’s a little bit of space available in a city, and three have already been installed in Zurich, Berlin and Brussels.

10. Twisting Agora Tower by Vincent Callebaut


Architect Vincent Callebaut is renowned for fantastical concepts exploring future sustainability, particularly self-sustaining miniature cities and floating post-apocalyptic societies. This particular concept for a twisting skyscraper - the Agora Tower - is a bit more immediately achievable.


The tower is a high-density multi-purpose structure combining residences with organic vegetable gardens, orchards and medicinal greenery surrounding a circular light well. The vertical garden and farm would be cultivated by the building’s tenants. The twisting shape enables ascending open-air terraces with plentiful access to sunlight on all levels.

Top image: Urban Skyfarm. Credit: Aprilli.

[Source: Web Urbanist. Edited.]

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