The Urban Terrace
By Ellen Depoorter
For The Buckminster Fuller Challenge
Population growth is leading to an ever accelerating urbanization. Densely built cities are very effective in providing housing, transport, work and culture since they are shared by a large population. Concentrating population in cities leaves land open for nature: O2 creating and CO2 absorbing plants.
While providing numerous benefits, cities don’t provide food or energy for their population. Energy is mostly carbon based and needs to be transported into the city. Food production as well is based on carbon: chemical fertilizers, pesticides, farm machinery, modern food processing, packaging and transportation. Processed food is also rich in fat and sugar and has less useful nutrients like vitamins and minerals, contributing to an obesity epidemic.
URBAN PLANT © integrates clean renewable energy and food systems into new and existing buildings and reduces carbon emissions. URBAN PLANT © is demonstrated on an existing high rise housing development.
A glass enclosed private terrace is annexed to the apartment. 2500 sf of ceramic planters provide sufficient space for a family of four to grow the vegetables that they need for a healthy diet year round. The terrace also provides outdoor space, shades the building and thereby reduces the heat load on the building.
Existing windows are enlarged to allow for more daylight and air and single glazing is replaced with double. Automatic solar shading and operable windows provide the appropriate temperature for growing plants.
At the top of the façade a light shelf provides solar energy and projects light deeper into the terrace. Greenhouses on the roof provide space for commercially operated urban farms. Chicken runs provide fresh eggs and help in composting of green waste, which is redistributed to the planters.