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Urban Gardening Goes Vertical

Felix Baumann

China’s agricultural sector is suffering from its vast growing cities. One solution to deal with the problem is vertical farming.

Vertical farming systems provide locally preferred food (Credits: Sasaki Associates via Dezeen)

China’s agricultural sector is suffering from its vast growing cities. In the last 20 years, around 123,000 square kilometres of farmland were lost to urbanization. In addition to the sealing, soil pollution is a major problem in the surrounding countryside of metropolises. In Shanghai, China’s biggest city, the administration encourages the production of food within the city borders to deal with the problem. One of the future places for producing agricultural goods is the Sunquiao Urban Agricultural District, which was designed by the renown architects of Sasaki Associates.

Vertical Farming System

The Idea behind the innovative approach is quite simple: Why not go vertical to encounter high land prices – even with the agricultural production? Beside greenhouses for multi-storey farming, the design also consists of a water treatment system, a centre for education and recreational facilities to improve the environmental awareness. The output of the greenhouses will mainly consist of kale, spinach and lettuce, which are the preferred local food. The plants grow along looped rails, which will rotate to provide an even distribution of sunlight from the glass roof.

Awarded Design

The American architects of Sasaki Associates recently won the top award in the urban planning category of the PLAN Awards for its innovative design. Not only could they convince the jury by their natural approach but also by the consideration of Chinese lifestyle and cuisine. With the centre of education and a museum, the concept encourages visitor participation. The construction of Sunquiao Urban Agricultural District will begin in late 2017. The site is located between Shanghai downtown and the Pudong International Airport.