Oriental tradition has had a long-standing, intimate relationship with nature. From wildly expressive Chinese paintings, to the Japanese’s fascination with Bonsai, life was strongly connected to the energies of the earth. Yet this is not so true nowadays, when booming populations, the need for efficient agriculture, and booming manufacturing plants have left us in a removed space of post-industrial and technological consciousness. It comes then as no surprise that we are returning back to these roots of nature, remodelling new sustainable solutions to urban planning. The result is an interesting, dramatic shift in public behaviour, innovative ideas and engineering prowess.
The crisis of the American housing industry hit the consciousness of MoMA earlier this year, spurred the minds of designers, architects and urban planners, creating “opportunities for radically rethinking the building blocks of the United States’ fast-growing urban fringe and developing a new national conversation on issues of housing, transportation, and public space.” What is shown are some exciting ideas of a newly integrative suburbia.
As the Japanese government deals with the difficulties of an aging farming community who are too old to farm their lands, youthful urbanites are taking centre stage and renting small plots of land to farm on the weekend. Rooted in crowded cities, these part-time horticulturalists are given basic instructions in how to tend to their crops.
Also on the Eastern orient, is the agricultural-cum-manufacturing town of Shenzhen, who too are embracing urban farming. Yet unlike their other contemporaries, their reasons for growing food are particularly unique to their situation: they farm their own food out of safety and quality control. The scandals of food are clearly an issue that resonates with the Chinese community.
Plantagon is a new company based in Sweden with an ambitious goal: to create a modern, viable greenhouse skyscraper with vertical farming technology. The logistics and principles of how a project like this might work are quite outstanding. If successful, the project could mean cutting the cost of transporting produce and bringing new immediacy to the phrase “grown locally”.
Image Source: WORKac