Soilless Urban Temporary Agriculture as a Strategy for Brownfield Site Renewal
The last few years have witnessed the development of a large number of projects, in the fields of planning and architecture, that aim to integrate food production in urban spaces. This practice goes under the name of Urban Agriculture and it is spreading ito many cities because it carries benefits and implications toward urban sustainability (environmental, economic, social and institutional). The paper aims to describe an ongoing research project, Ur.C.A. is an in progress research project, financed by Regione Toscana, and develop by the Interuniversity Centre and the DISPAA Department of the University of Florence, in partnership with two local enterprises: Azienda Agricola Cammelli and Azienda Agricola Artemisia.
Ur.C.A. aims to identify the possibilities and the potential of integrating agriculture in urban settlements, especially in brownfield sites and marginal areas, taking advantage of hydroponic technologies. The integration of agricultural activities in urban areas meets the requirements of consciousness toward food, reducing the gap between production and consumptions, and of alternative sustainable km0 alimentary production chains. Furthermore urban agriculture improves shared public spaces and social and recreational activities.
Brownfield sites and temporary unused areas can be, through urban agriculture, regenerated in terms of space quality, also providing them of new functions and a new role.
The project general objective is to analyze the possibilities of the requalification of the above mentioned urban contexts, through urban agriculture, focusing on legislative and technological feasibility. Ur.C.A. aims to develop an innovative use for brownfield sites that, through the integration of food production, can enhance social innovation, citizens awareness toward environment, health, and diet, social participation, and furthermore can stimulate an urban km0 production and consequentially new small scale local economies and green jobs.
Ur.C.A specific objective is to identify an innovative hydroponic growth cell system, suitable for urban contexts in terms of design, technology and sustainability, which would integrate renewable energy resources and rain water collection. The new concepts of growth cell will be especially suitable for urban unused areas: indeed in our towns can be found several spaces that remain temporary, but generally for a long period, unused as “frozen” waiting for new projects to be approved and completed. The Ur.C.A. growth cell, conceived as light, transportable, modular, nearly zero environmentally impacting, and energy efficient, can become a device useful to quickly, but also temporary, requalifying the mentioned areas.
KeywordsUrban agriculture Urban regeneration Integration Soilless technologies Brownfield sites
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