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China: Welcome to the agrihood: golf courses out, urban farms in, as upscale developers invite buyers to grow fruit and vegetables

An organic farm in Hong Kong. Around the world, developers are betting buyers of luxury homes want to get their hands dirty growing food. Photo: K Y. Cheng

Developers from Suzhou, China, to Palm Springs, California are betting that giving homeowners the opportunity to practise healthy living by growing ‘clean food’ – on vines and in olive groves and garden plots – will be attractive

By Kavita Daswani
South China Morning Post
Jan 11, 2018


Agrihoods – gardens where fruit and vegetables grow that are shared by a neighbourhood or community – are a nascent trend in global real estate development, but one that is on the rise. Partly, it’s an outgrowth of the trend in farm-to-table dining, partly a hunch that residents of a building or neighbourhood have an incipient desire to come together to tend urban gardens and share what they grow.

It’s already happening in Hong Kong’s backyard.

A new development for the active elderly, Yangcheng Lake Island Senior Housing, near Suzhou in Jiangsu province, will this year welcome its first residents and invite them to grow produce on plots of land for their own consumption or for use in the on-site restaurant kitchen.

“The fundamental idea is to incorporate clean food, clean air, healthy living – all the things that are important around the world,” says Jason Briscoe, managing partner of the Shanghai office of architectural firm Steinberg, which is building the 1.2 million square foot community.

According to Briscoe, this is one of the only residential projects he knows of in China that has an urban garden in addition to the regular amenities. The project, developed by China Life Investment Holding Company, will provide about 1,000 homes, ranging in size from 430 square feet to 2,000 square feet.

Read the complete article here.