Title

Food park

Defense Date

2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts

Department

Interior Design

First Advisor

Rob Smith

Second Advisor

Roberto Ventura

Third Advisor

Sara Reed

Fourth Advisor

Christiana Lafazzani

Fifth Advisor

Emily Smith

Sixth Advisor

Camden Whitehead

Abstract

If climate change and population growth progress at their current pace, in roughly 50 years farming as we know it will no longer exist (Despommier, 2009). This means that the majority of people could soon be without enough food or water. But there is a solution that is surprisingly within reach: Move most farming into cities, and grow crops in tall, specially constructed buildings. It’s called vertical farming. “There is a close relation between the beginning of agriculture and the birth of architecture. Our cities were shaped by food” (Precht, 2019). The agricultural revolution ended our presence as hunters and gatherers, with grain as a stable food source that allowed us to permanently settle and form communities. Farming and living were interconnected – they needed to be in proximity due to a lack of efficient transportation and refrigeration (Precht, 2019). All ancient settlements were dense areas centered around farmlands. Today, with transportation and new technologies, living and farming became disconnected. Corporate farms shifted our community sense and diconnected us from our roots with food, this work aims to connect us back to it, and have food and farming influence the way we design our buildings again! . Furthermore, climate change is forcing us to rethink our way of life. We can incorporate sustainable solutions in many different ways but this research focuses on urban agriculture, the goal is to introduce this concept more to our cities and especially around the university student populations which will constitute the future generation of decision makers. Growing food in the city means it is closer to where it is consumed, so it stays fresh longer and generates less loss for the businesses that use or sell it. Urban farming operations train and employ local people, generate local tax revenue, supply local stores and restaurants, and encourage the consumption of local products—all of which are good for the local economy. In addition, any plant starts losing nutrients the minute it is harvested from the earth, which is why the sooner we eat the food, the better it will be for our health. Urban agriculture isn’t just limited to growing food on rooftops, it encompasses turning any place in a city into a productive source of food. Which is why this thesis aims to partially transform an existing parking deck into an urban farming learning center. The program focuses on community engagement by creating a space for innovative learning where users can interact with the farmers and plants, learn from and participate in the process through collaborative workshops, indoor gardens, forums for discussions and a mini food hall offering people fresh and local food in hopes of reconnecting agriculture back into our urban fabric and therefore reconnecting people back to their food. As designers we must strive to implement this concept locally so that in the next decades, our farms will once again tell a story of community!

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

5-22-2020

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