Saturday, May 22, 2010

Ephemeral Urban Gardens: Installations

Examples of ephemeral productive agricultural landscapes give an indication of the possibilities of occupation of urban sites for education and growing food.


A recent installation called Landgrab City as part of the Shenzhen & Hong Kong bi-city Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture. Designers Joseph Grima, Jeffrey Johnson and José Esparza have created a farm in the middle of an urban square in Shenzhen, China. (via Inhabitat / Dezeen).

:: image via Dezeen

Not just an urban farm, the project is a metaphor for local agricultural production. "Conceived as an experimental investigation into the full extent of Shenzhen’s spatial footprint, the installation is comprised of two parts: an map of one of the city’s dense downtown area, home to approximately 4.5m people, and a plot of cultivated land divided into small lots."

:: image via Dezeen

More from Dezeen: "This land is a representation, at the same scale as the map, of the amount of territory necessary to provide the food consumed by the inhabitants of the portion of city sampled in the map, projected to 2027 (the year China is expected to overtake the US as the world’s leading economy)."

:: image via Dezeen

"Landgrab City is an attempt to visually represent the broader spatial identity of the 21st century metropolis; it proposes a new spatial definition of the city and thereby a more complex understanding of urbanism, one that no longer considers city limits as the boundary of its remit, but instead looks beyond – even across international borders – to the spatial, social, economic and political implications of the planet’s rapid urbanization."

:: image via Dezeen

The educational aspects are evident - even if the overall metaphor is less visible. The connection of people to knowledge of the foods they consume is necessary as we move from agriculturally focused living to the majority of people living in urban areas. This confrontation of the site right in a dense urban area gives a powerful statement as a visible connection of farm to city.

:: images via Dezeen

A second proposal, via VULGARE, is a "City Eco Lab together was l’Ilot d’Amaranthes,a five-year-long project in which St Etienne designer Emanuel Louisgrand, in partnership with Galerie Roger Tator, has created productive gardens on abandoned sites in different parts of Lyon."

:: image via VULGARE

The site specificity of each intervention allows us to apply concepts that fit the context and needs based on the surrounding areas and the site characteristics: "L’Ilot d’Amaranthes is a perfect model of the kind of activity that we need to see in every city and town. What shines out from the project is that each intervention is unique to that place and that time. This is a sustainable way of thinking: Understanding what makes each place unique, and then defining tools and infrastructures that can be adapted to it."

:: image via VULGARE

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