Farming the Cracks Competition


Farming the Cracks Competition

LocationMelbourne, VIC
ServicesLandscape Architecture
Site AreaNA

The FuturArc Prize was launched in 2007 to generate forward-thinking, innovative design ideas for Australasia. The Competition offers a platform to professionals and students who are passionate about the environment and provides an opportunity to use the imagination to capture visions of a sustainable future. OCULUS submitted an entry titled “Farming the Cracks” with the following vision.

Unlike much of the dry, infertile and inhospitable Australian continent, our cities contain the two ingredients most necessary for food production: large amounts of water and large quantities of nutrients.

With this in mind, the city represents an untapped resource for localised food production, especially as urban areas continue to expand and place increasing pressure on barely arable land. Additionally, the spiralling costs associated with food transport further limit our nutritional choices.

One of the biggest constraints to “urban farming” has been: where? The vast uninterrupted tracts of land associated with agri-business simply can’t exist within the land use matrix of the city. Vertical farming is, perhaps, one architecturally appealing option, but is unlikely to be a wholesale urban farming solution. Likewise, the community garden can be part of the food mix, but may have more relevance as a social movement rather than as a solution to a city’s food supply.

The city itself, with its immense complexity and changing nature, is resistant to a one-size-fits-all approach. Hence a mix of these different ideas—market gardens, vertical farms, community gardens, and micro farming plots, to name a few, seems to be a more realistic vision for a future city that has its own means of localised food production.

The solution is to create farms that are smaller, more diverse, more efficient, robotic, automated, engineered, urbane, and networked. This element is the missing ingredient to a true fully constructed urban ecology. To accommodate this vision, we need to find the space “in-between” other core city functions.

We need to farm the cracks.

This competition submission won third place in the FuturArc 2012 Competition.