Case Study of Landscape Urbanism

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Landscape Urbanism has a long time track that from 1880s to 1970s, from green urbanism to limited planning, as well as today being as a strong theory that changing private focus to public. Landscape Urbanism for me means the taking public space as the starting point instead architectural massing. In addition, Landscape Urbanism also means the way using landscape to design. Last but not the least, Landscape Urbanism means change traditional planning theory into making public space as the main carrier instead of the spare space that crossing buildings and constructions.

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The case I would like to talk about is Lower On Lands project in Toronto. It contains an ambitious plan, a comprehensive urban design development that based on ecology, and designed a landscape framework that including big and small parks, integral connections and wildlife space.

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To make the post-industrial site of Lower Don Lands re-blend into the city it needs the determination to face the environmental, social and economical challenge directly. The estuary is the connecting point with two adjacent places, and inspired by this, MVVA design team reconsidered the relationship between city and the environment. So they designed a space with three important sites that makes this theme to be unique.

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A large space of wetland park will occupy the core of new neighborhood development, through the change of typography, wide sight, and leisure will be the supplement of the high dense city. The large scale of change will highly improve the function of ecological and water feature. The whole plan improved landscape is the most effective reconciliation for urban ordering system and ecological economic block.

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So the whole plan of Lower Don Lands will be developed a series of blocks that formed by river and harbors. This target is aiming to build up a exciting place to live and work, in this place, city, park, harbor and river will be the unique identity. Commercial, cultural and working spaces, public realm, water feature, different scale of parks will form this space.
However, what we need for Landscape Urbanism is making enough space for design. Landscape Urbanism should agree the potential of design, not being blind for ambitious. Also we need to change the arbitrary prejudice that all big projet is planning, all small project is design. So after we changed our mind, we can draw the conclusion that Landscape Urbanism can actually fully contain design and be presented by design. However, I think the important point is that nature also need planning and design, and we can not exclude the countryside and nature of Landscape Urbanism.
Image source: http://www.youthla.org/2012/01/torontos-lower-don-lands/
Reference:Rachel Gleeson. Toronto’s Lower Don Lands. TOPOS, VOL. 73. 2011
Thorbjörn Andersson. Landscape Urbanism Versus Landscape Design. TOPOS, VOL. 71., 2010.

Live01 – Sustainable neighbourhood(?)

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Live01 – translation of Swedish Bo01 that stands for a district developed few years ago as one part of redevelopment of Västra Hamnen – West Harbour, a former industrial wharf in a city of Malmo, Sweden. Bo01 as an ecological ´city´ of tomorrow is meant to be an internationally leading example of environmental adaptation of a densely built urban environment.

Bo01 was a multidisciplinary project with various specialists, designers and artists involved in order to deliver a sustainable neighbourhood. The neighbourhood has approximately 600 residential units, offices, shops and other service trade premises.

Vastra Hamnen plan

Vastra Hamnen Redevelopment Plan, Malmo

An exciting city plan provides tall houses on the outskirts that form a wind shelter around a small scale and green interior. There are many small blocks each with different characteristics what provides diversity of the area. There are also few examples of energy efficient single-family houses within the district. New landmark of Malmo was built in the neighbourhood too – The Turning Torso. It is the highest skyscraper in Sweden and all the Nordic countries with 54 stories – 147 apartments and other different facilities and service spaces.

Wind turbines provide all the district´s electricity. Solar panels on the roofs supply a fifth of the heat. Recyclable and organic materials are sorted and contribute to energy production by the city´s biogas plant. Paths and cycle tracks have been given high-priority as has the use of healthy materials in the dwelling and surroundings.

Bo01_v4Bo01 proves that it is possible to supply a whole neighbourhood with 100% locally renewable energy. The neighbourhood offers people to live in a sustainable way, use public transport and economise on resources. Bo01 was not supposed to deliver only environmental sustainability, but also social sustainability in terms of providing diverse residential opportunities, diverse open spaces encouraging community gatherings. This was to be achieved by architecture its self, arts and nature to support emotions and aesthetic appeal.

Bo01

Local residents claim a larger sense of community in Bo01 than anywhere else in Malmo. But what has happened is that the project failed to integrate different social groups and prevent social segregation since prices of the dwelling are far above average. Residents of Bo01 consist of those healthy, affluent, almost entirely white citizens, but almost 40% of Malmo´s population is foreign-born that live on the other side of the city. In a student district of Malmo they have even started selling t-shirts with graphics of the Turning Torso tower as a raised middle finger and a slogan “Fucking Torso”. A cut of the profits goes to the local homeless shelter.

Because of glass facades of the buildings, especially the ones on the promenade, local residents have feeling of an “exhibition housing” with all the “people pressing their noses against the glass all the time”, says Scott, an American who lives in one of those apartments. The glass facades are also a subject for higher expanses which contradicts the ideas of sustainability.

“A lot of the goals we set ourselves weren’t reached, but I think what’s special about Bo01 is its high ambitions,” says Eva Dalman, an architect who has been with the project from the start. “We’ve worked with all the questions, and even if we didn’t go all the way, we got a long way, and we’re happy to share our knowledge. Maybe some cities can go further, and maybe we will in the next part.”

Bo01 has its pros and cons, as most of projects have. The sustainability in all aspects have not been reached, but it is still a great project to look up to.

 

References:

Guardian, n.d. Swede dreams. The Guardian.

Malmo Städ, n.d. City of Malmo – www.malmo.se. [Online]
Available at: http://malmo.se/download/18.3744cbfb13a77097d879d4e/1383649554922/Guide_Western_Harbour_2012_Web.pdf

Medea, n.d. Artist-In-Residence Projects Summarized. Medea – Malmo University.

 

The Awareness and Development of Urban Agriculture in Different Regions

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http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/12/17/251713829/forget-golf-courses-subdivisions-draw-residents-with-farms

Food shortage has always been a big problem for the whole world. Although now technology is making progress and productivity is gradually improving, the growing food consumption still cannot be satisfied. At present, the world population has reached 7 billion, and this number continues growing and people who suffering hunger account for 8.27 hundred million which are mostly concentrated in developing countries and Asian countries have the largest number of hungry people. People have been trying to solve this problem all the time, such as the research and develop for new varieties, increase yield and reclaim more planting land, etc. In some cities of the developed countries, a new type of agriculture– Urban Agriculture emerges as the time requires. This term, our research direction for city regeneration is also the Urban Agriculture. Urban Agriculture is to develop the plant growth and cultivation as well as animal feeding to the cities, combined with the city developments to provide food for the city residents. The aim is integrated into the urban economic and ecological system to achieve physically, economically and socially integrated. 800 million urban residents are actively engaged in urban agriculture.

In cities, people try to find free city lands to develop urban agriculture, roofs, balconies, residential gardens, community green spaces are all available and which are easy for accessing and developing of urban agriculture. In different countries and regions, the ways and the effects of urban agriculture development are not the same; the main difference lies in the developing countries and developed countries.

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http://www.bristolfoodnetwork.org/

In developed countries, people are very positive and happy to participate in the development of urban agriculture; many cities already have relatively perfect agricultural system which can correctly and effectively guide people to carry out agricultural production. Just like Bristol use public garden and community garden to build a food network in the whole city. Every part of land have a different role in network systems. And they encourage people to take part in their work or find their interested garden. Furthermore, they also organize many activities to let more people know they, such as Bristol Food Connections Festival, Bristol’s Get Growing Garden Trail which is help people to get involved in the gardening projects through some interesting activities. If you are interested about this project, you can find more information on their website. http://www.bristolfoodnetwork.org/local-food-map/

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http://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/220748

On the contrary, in developing countries, the reason why people began to personally plant food is mostly because of worrying about food safety, so they grow green vegetables to meet the basic needs of their daily life. The biggest limitation in developing countries is that people can seldom find a wide range of land to provide support for the development of urban agriculture; most people can only choose on a balcony or roof to plant a small range of food, and the most important is that the urban agriculture awareness has not been fully popularized. The centre of the whole city development is economic development and to accelerate the city constructions; residents are fighting for their own life, and they have no concept of urban agriculture development. So to develop urban agriculture, we need the government to formulate relevant policies to encourage people to actively participate in the urban agriculture development, and vigorously give publicity to the benefits brought by urban agriculture as well improve the enthusiasm of the masses.

Urban agriculture not only can effect urban economic development, but also help environmental improvement. It can reduce food costs to improve quality of life, and provide health food, health eating and health life style. Moreover, urban agriculture will increase opportunity of employment and entrepreneurship, it is a new skill for residents and an education base for students. It can improve the social stability and cohesion to form social integration.

Indoor Urban Agriculture: One way to have an extensive food growing in the city.

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Food is a basic need of every human being that must be fulfilled every day. Therefore, food production must continue to increase in number from day to day to meet all of these great needs. In 2050, the World Health Organization estimates, there will be 9 billion people on Earth where 70 percent of the amount will be living in urban areas. With this much amount, whether the food needs will be met if we only rely on conventional agriculture where mostly located in the suburbs? The need for food in 2050 according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is 3 billion tones where food availability now approximately 2.1 billion tones. So, we had to increase approximately 1 billion tones to meet the needs of the food.

Indoor urban agriculture is not a new thing in the world. However, some companies have managed to prove that through the indoor urban agriculture, they also have helped provide food in the country. By using the abandoned buildings where widely spread all over the city, they start this activity, even become a very big business.

As we know, the indoor urban agriculture is not a process of growing plants in a natural way in the whole system. Some tools should still be used so that they can create a habitat which is so similar to the original. Therefore, the advantages and disadvantages do exist. That thing I will try to explain one by one later. I will also try to give some examples of companies which have managed to do indoor urban agriculture.

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Source : http://agritecture.com/post/46358574420/farmed-here-images

Almost all the companies engaged in this field using hydroponics and aquaponics to grow these plants. Hydroponics is a method of farming without using the soil as a growing medium, but using mineral nutrient fluid. Similar to hydroponics, but aquaponics  can not necessarily be used after all growing media available and vitamins given. In aquaponics method, we have to wait about 1 month so that the protein in the water is already well developed. In addition, they also use artificial light instead of the sun which can not get from the the room.

ADVANTAGES

From several articles, mentioned that the first advantage of the indoor urban agriculture is the farmers do not have to be afraid of unavailability of the land for planting. Many of them use the abandoned buildings where scattered throughout the city. Second, because it is in the room, growers are not afraid with the state of the weather, climate or natural disasters so that they can plant any time and under any circumstances. Third, from several crops that have been passed, the results obtained from the indoor urban agriculture proved more. As said by Mark Thomann, chief executive officer of FarmedHere, “We can grow 200 percent more food per square foot than traditional agriculture, and without the use of chemical fertilizers.”

But, beside all these advantages there are still disadvantages generated by indoor urban agriculture. First, indoor urban agriculture requires modern technologies to create a suitable habitat for the plant. As a simple example, they need a light which is on within several hours to replace the function of the sun in conventional agriculture. In addition to the best LED which suit with this function is still under study, we can imagine how much energy and money will be spent on these lights. Although several studies have been successful in increasing the presentation of the efficiency, but still this has not been maximum. Second, not all plants can be grown indoors. Some of the plant grown in the room now is basically an outdoor plant. Therefore, J. Michael Gould, director of Texas A & M’s AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Dallas said that the breeding programs need to begin to breed plants for indoor environments.

 

 

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FarmedHere is the Largest Indoor aquaphonic vertical farm in the United State. Started their business by using an abandon warehouse, now FarmedHere has become a big business. As mentioned previously, FarmedHere also using hydroponics and aquaponics to grow crops. Some plants which planted by FarmedHere are baby leaf lettuces are, mustard greens, mild Brassica greens, basil, mint and Arugula.

There’s something interesting from an aquaponics method used by FarmedHere. They use a closed-loop method aquaponic system. The process from this system is the tilapia (a type of fish) are kept in a large tank to produce waste. Water containing waste from the tilapia is supplied to the planting medium. Those Water is excellent as growing media because it contains a lot of protein. From there, the plants will help to filter the water. The clean water filtered by the plants will be flowed back to the tilapia’s tank and so on.

CLOSED-LOOP METHOD AQUAPONIC SYSTEM

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Source : https://plantingmilkwood.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/1206-aqua-1.jpg

 

 

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Disasters that often occur in Japan make agricultural land does not get the crop. This inspired Shigeharu Shimamura, a Japanese plant physiologist to start indoor urban agriculture. Finally, he changed a former Sony Corporation semiconductor factory into the world’s Largest indoor farm. This Indoor Agriculture has an almost equally large with a big a football field (25,000 Square Feet).

The project began when General Electric (GE) invited him to cooperate. Shimamura said that he knew how to grow a good crop with the knowledge he has. Now, he wants to integrate science with technology in order to create a better plant. From this collaboration, GE provide  all LED lights needed by the plants. GE even do their own research in order to create an LED lamp which is necessary, but still thin enough to be easily applied on the shelves of the growing media. GE’s LED lights provide uniform light and eendure the high humidity inside

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Source : http://media.tumblr.com/9dd0fd5806905b4cfa556f199a922882/tumblr_inline_n8ga0sC9Wj1qzgziy.jpg

Shimamura focuses on planting lettuce in his indoor agriculture. With this method, Shimamura claims that he can produce lettuce that contain vitamins and minerals two-and-a-half times faster than an outdoor farm. He also said that by using this method, it can cut the discarded produce from 50 percent to just 10 percent of the harvest, Compared to a conventional farm. He can get all of that by controlling temperature, humidity and irrigation properly. This farm can also cut its water usage to just 1 percent of the amount needed by the outdoor fields.

 

 

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Big box Farm. An indoor agriculture business owned by Jordan Motzkin, 22 years in New York. He won a sum of money from the National Science Foundation and the College of the Atlantic for his startup, Big Box Farms.

Motzkin dream is to plant millions of organic lettuce and basil. He will start this business from an old Brooklyn warehouse. Motzkin cooperate with Philips Electronics to provide the latest LED lighting technology which has not even been marketed to the public. Motzkin claimed that the new technology can increase the percentage of energy efficiency from 40% to 60%. All of these operations will be done by Motzkin through in their iPhone Application – from indoor climate control and LED lighting to Hydroponics.

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Source : http://www.bigboxfarms.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/BBF_Rotate_011.png

Basically, each indoor method or outdoor method has its own advantages and disadvantages. Until now, it has not been established which the best method to use. However, for me, given the need of the food is increasing from day to day, it would be better if these two methods can cooperate with each other and meet the needs of the food rather than constantly looking for which one is better.