The cook, the farmer, his wife, and her grocer: Plotting a new urban/rural interface
LaRocca, Jonathan Vail
Master of Architecture
Plotting a new urban/rural interface provides a design proposal for a new kind of sustainable landscape within built-up areas: urban agriculture. The reintroduction of productive landscapes into the contemporary city changes the appearance of modernday urban conditions towards an unprecedented economic, social, and environmental productiveness. Such landscapes adopt a strategy of systemic intensification which searches out reclaimable (unproductive) space with the existing urban fabric. By growing food within an urban rather than exclusively rural environment, productive landscapes within city boundaries reduce the need for industrialized production, packaging and transportation of foodstuffs from rural areas to the city dwelling consumers. This project offers an examination of food as a fundamental aspect of a city, the study of how food relates to the economic, political, social and cultural environments of a city, and the study of how food imprints on the built environment. Urban agriculture is a theory that positions food is a primary transforming force capable of organizing the city and enhancing the urban experience. The possibilities of urban agriculture in the United States are presented through a proposal for active farming and food retail projects in Houston as strategies for achieving sustainable growth.