New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'
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Architectural design competition submissions highlight urban agriculture

Community Catalyst submission by Garon Sebastien and Chris Foyd – Vancouver

How far we have come — urban farming entering the mainstream design and planning world! These urban agriculture submissions would have been unheard of just a few years ago! (Mike)

Form Shift: an architectural ideas design competition

The Architectural Institute of British Columbia and the City of Vancouver – a jointly-sponsored open ideas competition.

Over the past 20 years, the approach to community planning, zoning, density, transportation and housing in Vancouver has yielded substantial improvements. Continued improvement, however, requires ongoing innovation and creativity. Good intentions need to be reflected in tangible urban design.

The City of Vancouver has developed Climate Change Action Plans as well as the EcoDensity Charter – policies and principles to guide greener and denser development, improve building performance, reduce carbon emissions, and improve the city’s overall livability. Vancouver was the first city in Canada to adopt The 2030 Challenge for green house gas reduction, committing each of us to reducing our collective environmental impact. Vancouver City Council has taken that commitment a step further with the stated goal of becoming “the greenest city in the world”.

By Garon Sebastien and Chris Foyd

Community Catalyst

By Garon Sebastien and Chris Foyd – Vancouver

Community gardens have proven hugely successful in fostering neighbourhood exchanges and building a sense of community.

Gardens hierarchy:
1. Neighbourhood in laneway
2. Community on rooftop of community centre
3. Communal greenhouses
4. Private in residential unit’s enclosed balconies.

Harvest Green Project By Romses Architects – Vancouver

Harvest Green Project

Harvest Green Project explores the notion of the ‘foregrounding’ of a new agri-food system in and around the strategic urban location of an arterial transit hub. To a certain extent, we have seen 20th century town planning disregard the importance of food and farming, and urban development has virtually eliminated agriculture in our cities. By 2050, there will be globally an additional 3 billion people to feed, and traditional farming simply can not sustain this increase in population. Therefore, incorporating urban farming prominently into the fabric of the city, and in a synergistic mixed-use development integrated with transit, is a way to re-assert the cultural and environmental importance of locally produced food to the health and sustainability of the city and its residents.

“City governments have an important role to play to make
urban agriculture a reality. Through such means as tax relief,
equity partnerships, access to free land, supportive zoning
changes, relaxation of by-law restrictions, etc., as well as
assuming responsibility for collateral side issues such as
poverty reduction and social equity, city governments can
set the stage for demonstration projects that would be
needed to prove the conceptual and technical feasibility of
vertical farming.

Rooftop Green Pixels By Wang Yiming – Burnaby

More about the FormShift competition

FormShift Vancouver challenges you to give shape to these goals through ideas and design solutions that will help shape the future of the city. Be it by expanding upon Vancouver’s traditional design solutions or offering an entirely new perspective, this is your chance to build a hypothetical form of the future, one that is in keeping with the vibrant, ecologically-friendly and sustainable city to which we aspire.

As Canadians, we are at a critical moment in time, one that has us deeply concerned about the effects of global warming and the likelihood of irreversible damage to our communities, our biosphere, and our futures. Individually and collectively, people are seeking solutions and wondering what part they might play in bringing them about.

By taking a different approach to community planning, zoning, density, transportation, and buildings themselves, dramatic improvements are possible.

The obvious starting place is where we live. More than 90 per cent of Canadians live in cities. Canadians generate 680 megatons of carbon emissions annually (the third-largest rate on the planet), and most of it comes from our cities. Vancouverites average six tons per capita each year. In Vancouver, 54 per cent of emissions come from buildings. To reach a sustainable future, we must reduce our footprint to 2.2 tons per person. The challenge has been delivered: to reduce Vancouver’s average per capita emissions by 60 per cent.

See the FormShiftVancouver web site here. All winners and all entries are there for viewing in PDF format — a wealth of interesting material available!

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1 comment

1 gormanwvzb { 05.22.09 at 7:06 am }

This is a great article. I found some more source material in an article titled “Food in the City” found at

Good for Vancouver!