While Two Trees still needs to make it through the ULURP process before breaking ground on its SHoP Architects-designed mixed-use development for the Domino Sugar site on the Brooklyn Waterfront, the developer has just announced plans for Site E, a vacant parcel on the corner of Kent Avenue and South 3rd. A large section of the 55,000-square-foot lot will be dedicated to a community green space run by North Brooklyn Farms that will host a range of Brooklyn-friendly activities and classes from yoga to urban farming. And on the western side, there will be a bike course, organized by New York City Mountain Bike Association, with areas for riders of all levels. This new urban farm-meets-bike recreation spot will open to the public in May and close once construction commences on the development.
Posts tagged with "Urban Farming":
While rooftop farming has cropped up in a number of cities across the country, it has yet to take root in Boston. But this will soon change when founders Courtney Hennessey and John Stoddard launch operations of their new rooftop farm, aptly called Higher Ground Farm, located atop the Boston Design Center this Spring. According to CoLab Radio at MIT, the duo will start planting on a 40,000-square-feet segment of the expansive 55,000-square-feet roof within the next few months and be ready to sell the fresh produce by summer. The farm is coming at just the right time—the city is making a real push to encourage more urban farming. The Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) has introduced Article 89, an urban agriculture zoning initiative that will “establish an environment in which all of our citizens—particularly the most underserved—have direct access to locally produced fresh food, the ability to produce food for themselves, and access to education and knowledge about healthy eating.” Hennessey and Stoddard have made a dent in their fundraising efforts through kickstarter and fundraisers, but still need more money to get the farm completely off the ground. They hope to secure more capital to reach their $300,000 goal with the help of loans and grants.
It has been a rocky few months for the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), but the battered agency finally has some good news to report. State officials announced the opening of the Arbor House, a 124-unit affordable housing complex, located in the Morrisania section of the Bronx, that is not only LEED Platinum certified, but also features a hydroponic farm on the roof that supplies residents and the surrounding community with fresh produce. Built from local and recycled materials, the 8-story building was designed by New York-based ABS Architecture and includes a living green wall installation in the lobby, air-filtration systems, and indoor and outdoor exercise areas. This $37.7 million housing development came out of a collaboration between city agencies and Blue Sea Development, and according to The New York Observer, is part of a larger initiative by Mayor Bloomberg, which “pairs dilapidated and vacant NYCHA land with private developers to create affordable housing.” The apartments are reserved for low-income households that earn less than 60 percent of the city's median income. Residents will start moving in within the next month.
Urban rooftop farming is on the up-and-up in New York City and across the country. Putting his official stamp of approval on the movement, New York Mayor Bloomberg stopped by the city's largest rooftop farm, the 43,000-square-foot Brooklyn Grange atop a building in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. With the growing season in full swing, the plants were towering nearly as high as the Manhattan skyline in the distance. The new facility is the second site for Brooklyn Grange, a commercial farming operation that also operates a rooftop in Long Island City, Queens. The new farm was awarded nearly $600,000 from the Department of Environmental Protection's Green Infrastructure Grant Program, the largest project in the program to date, as it's expected to help defer stormwater runoff and improve water quality. In fact, it's expected that the farm will store more than one million gallons of rainwater every year. That will help keep the city's sewer system from being overwhelmed during storms, which causes combined sewer overflow (CSO) sending sewage directly into New York Harbor. “It’s no news that a tree grows in Brooklyn, and now we’re ready to harvest cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce and kale,” Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement. “Along fresh produce and new jobs, the city’s largest rooftop garden will absorb more than a million gallons of storm water and help keep our harbors and streams clean. This is one of the biggest projects we’ve funded as part of our Green Infrastructure program and will help us meet our PlaNYC goals for a greener, greater New York.” The farm will grow salad greens, chard, kale, basil, eggplant, cucumbers, and ground cherries, and Brooklyn Grange hopes to harvest around 20,000 pounds of produce a year.
New York City is home to over 700 food-producing farms and gardens spread over 50 acres of reclaimed lots, rooftops, schoolyards, and public housing grounds. This week at a launch and press event, the Design Trust for Public Space (in partnership with the Brooklyn-based non-profit community farming project Added Value) debuted the most comprehensive survey yet of the city's urban agricultural infrastructure, Five Borough Farm: Seeding the Future of Urban Agriculture in New York City. Currently, the non-profit organizations, commercial entities, institutions, and community members who operate urban farms lack a reliable means to obtain resources such as land, soil, compost, and funding. Five Borough Farm lays out a roadmap for the integration and expansion of New York’s urban farms, with analysis of present conditions, metrics that establish a common framework for evaluating success and determining strategies, and policy recommendations that would make agriculture integral to city planning. Five Borough Farm describes the health, social, economic, and ecological benefits of urban farms. Distributing food to under-served communities and providing nutritional education supports public health. By developing unused land, farms and gardens fill gaps in the streetscape and create space for community gathering and organizing. Farmers are able to sell their food in farmer’s markets, while education and stewardship programs empower youth and provide job training. Gardens can act as filters for wastewater and composted food waste while working to detoxify soil and educating communities about sustainability. The study builds on New York’s existing urban agriculture initiatives, calling for a citywide interagency task force that would coordinate policy and procedures for organizations that manage farms and to allocate resources and land to those organizations. At the launch event, Design Trust Executive Director Susan Chin described the need for this body to engage with communities in the planning and operation of urban farms: “We need to select, digest, upload, and disseminate information and data on farms to the community.” The metrics established in Five Borough Farm describe agricultural production, biodiversity, employment, and impact on health, allowing communities to monitor their progress and receive necessary support. Raymond Figueroa, a program director at South Bronx-based Friends of Brook Park, trains youths in urban agricultural production. “The real power of urban agriculture is the promotion of healthy living,” Figueroa explained, pointing to precedents demonstrating how such initiatives can be effective. During the Great Depression, for example, Relief Gardens provided social stability and well-needed food. “Communities can actively engage in the cultivation of land—the fight we have is alerting communities to the possibilities they have,” Figueroa said. So what's the next step? Phase two of the project will bring in New York City government to help locate 100 publicly-owned sites with the potential for food production. Columbia University’s Urban Design Lab will partner with the Design Trust in identifying under-served areas, growing conditions, and suitability of land. The trust hopes to formalize the city’s support by initiating new programs and subsidies, while partnering with departments that are not directly responsible for urban agriculture, like Waste Management.
Despite the Motor City’s notoriety as a symbol of urban decay, development is actually going on in Detroit. And with almost 40 square miles of vacant land, Detroit has the chance to redefine urban renewal outright. The city recently took note of one major way some residents are turning blight into bounty: Mayor David Bing signed off on Michigan State University's plan to seed urban agriculture in Detroit with $1.5 million over the next three years. There are scores of farms and gardens already operating within the city. D-Town farms, Eastern Market, and Earthworks are among a network of urban agriculture outfits growing tons of produce within city limits. This has been going on for some time, but MetroFoodPlus—the name proposed for MSU research center—represents an unequivocal municipal endorsement of activity still prohibited by zoning. Entrepreneurs like John Hantz hope to help put thousands of vacant parcels back on the tax rolls and recast Detroit’s infamous depopulation as a unique asset. Hantz hopes to acquire 300 acres on the city’s East Side, though his dream is 10,000 acres. He may find a helping hand in MSU’s innovation cluster. Their agreement with the city is short on details for now, but its stated goals are ambitious: to turn Detroit into a global hub for food system innovation.
Installation of the first community rooftop garden in the United States—UpGarden—is almost complete. Located in the shadow of Seattle's Space Needle, the project will convert close to 30,000 square feet on the top of the Mercer parking garage into an organic, edible, herb and flower garden with 100 plots for lower Queen Anne neighborhood residents. Landscape architecture firm Kistler Higbee Cahoot is leading the design, organizing community workshops and construction of the garden with a volunteer crew. The project is part of the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods P-Patch program, which helps manage almost 80 urban community gardens across Seattle. P-Patch gets its name from the Picardo family who donated land to create the city's first community garden in 1973. UpGarden was funded by the 2008 Parks and Green Space Levy. While UpGarden is built on top of a parking garage engineered to hold up dozens of cars, special effort had to be taken to consider the weight of the new garden, which can be quite heavy. A cubic yard of dry topsoil can weigh about a ton, and much, more when wet, which could overwhelm even a concrete parking structure. UpGarden's design accounted for weight by including terraced planting beds with shallower elevated filled with a lighter-weight mix of potting soil. Small seating areas have been incorporated into the landscape design along with a planted trellis and educational kiosk at the garden's entrance. Designers paid homage to the unorthodox site's automotive past by incorporating an Airstream trailer repurposed for use as a tool shed along a lavender-lined lawn at the center of the garden. A donated 1963 Ford Galaxy was also repainted purple and hollowed out to serve as a planting space for crops such as corn and pumpkins. The first crops at UpGarden will be harvested later this summer. Unfortunately, the garden is only temporary—there are plans to demolish the aging Mercer parking garage, built for the 1962 World’s Fair, in three to five years.
A massive new urban farming project in Sunset Park, Brooklyn was announced last week by New York City-based Bright Farms, a company dedicated to building hydroponic farms close to supermarkets. The Sunset Park project will be the largest rooftop farm in the city, and possibly the world. At 100,000 square feet, it could potentially yield 1 million pounds of produce a year and joins several other agricultural projects in Brooklyn. Brooklyn Grange, another rooftop farming operation located in Queens, is planning to open a 45,000 square foot urban farm at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and farm-developers Gotham Greens will be opening a new location in the borough as well. The three new Brooklyn farms join a host of existing and planned farms around the area. The farms in operation now are Brooklyn Grange's facility in Long Island City, Gotham Greens' existing Greenpoint location, and Brightfarms' Long Island location in Huntington. Several other projects by these same three developers are in the works across Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. Bright Farms' Sunset Park hydroponic project will use no dirt. This has advantages over traditional soil-based farming, as it prevents extra strain on the sewer system by harvesting rainwater, and also allows light weight rooftop greenhouses to be built without large-scale structural additions to buildings below. Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz is excited about the project, and is even supporting changes in zoning laws to promote this type of urban rooftop farming. To make commercial ventures like these easier to develop, height and floor-area restrictions would exclude rooftop greenhouses. Often, tailoring regulation is the best way to change the ways in which we live, and in this case, simply changing zoning law could provide a wave of fresh fruits and vegetables produced blocks from the grocery stores in which it will be sold. Brooklyn doesn't have much open space, but it does have plenty of flat rooftops. While some cities seeks to utilized vacant lots, New York is in a great position. Unlike vacant lots, rooftops could mean extra, 'bonus' production, since the roofs are already serving a purpose: shelter. The new legislation would essentially increase the usable "density" of the city through the increased economic performance of these buildings without altering existing structures, only adding to them. This collapse of the rural and urban is exciting for a number of reasons. Localized food delivery systems could eliminate "food deserts," neighborhoods where fresh food is unavailable. Salmar Properties, who purchased the building from the NYC Economic Development Corporation in May 2011 for $10 million, will be required to use the building for industrial purposes for 30 years. Read more about the Sunset Park urban farm at The New York Times.
City Farming. Last week, the New York City Council amended the city's building code to allow for rooftop farming and greenhouses: now, rooftop greenhouses will not be considered an additional story. The bill also requires prisons to purchase locally grown food and calls for the city to maintain a record of spaces suitable for farming, Inhabitat said. Mobile Equity. The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights argued in a recent report titled “Where We Need to Go: A Civil Rights Roadmap for Transportation Equity” that mobility must be a civil right. Recent studies indicate that low-income areas and the elderly lack adequate access to mass transportation, particularly in rural areas. With abut 80% of federal transportation funding marked for highways, mass transit is under-funded reported Wired. Home Slim Home. While Japan is famous for its narrow residences, the world's thinnest house will soon lie in Warsaw, Poland, says ArchDaily. Designed by Centrala, The Kennet House is 122 cm to 72 cm at is narrowest part and will serve as the residence and workplace for writer Etgar Keret. Perfect Pyramids. In a Wired post, a physics professor at Southeastern Louisiana University examined the construction of pyramids—how tall can pyramids be, and what is the best angle? Through mathematical formulas, he mused that 140 meters is the most efficient height.
Farming Right Side Up. Spiegel Online reported on vertical farming research in South Korea as an innovative means of remedying food shortages on an increasingly urban planet. For the time being, agricultural scientist Choi Kyu Hong conducts his own version of Dickson Despommier’s Manhattan urban gardening project in an unexceptional 3-story industrial building, but Hong and his team have outfitted the farm with solar panels, LED lighting, and recycled water infrastructure hoping to attract enough attention to bring vertical farming to the global market and city skyscrapers. Hadid Stands Still. After touring New York, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, the Chanel Mobile Art Pavilion designed by Zaha Hadid claims its permanent home in the front plaza of the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, France. A Daily Dose of Architecture noted that the pavilion now features the Zaha Hadid Une Architecture exhibition, creating a thematically coherent viewing experience inside and out. Stirling Search. Bustler posted the Royal Institute of British Architects' (RIBA) shortlist for this year’s £20,000 ($32.5K) RIBA Stirling Prize. The list includes previous prize winners Zaha Hadid and David Chipperfield, as well as O’Donnell + Tuomey, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Bennetts Associates Architects and Hopkins Architects Partnership for the 2012 London Olympic Park. Bored to Death. After tunneling through the subterranean rock of Midtown Manhattan for the new Grand Central Terminal train station, the 200-ton serpentine drill will be left to decompose 14 stories underneath Park Avenue. The New York Times revealed that the Spanish contractor in charge of the 4-year excavation ensured the MTA that this internment is both practically and economically preferable to dismantling the drill. Going to the Chapel. Curbed posted the two winners of a pop-up chapel competition celebrating gay marriage in New York. ICRAVE's entry calls for a pavilion of colorful ribbons while Z-A Studios design forms recycled cardboard into a curving tulip. Both designs will built in Central Park this weekend where they will host 24 weddings.
So we've got schools with green roofs sprouting in D.C., Manhattan, the Bronx, and who knows where else across this fine country of ours. (If you've got more, email us, we'd love to hear about them.) Not content simply with the mantle of "country's oldest public school," Boston Latin has decided to add a green roof as well. Designed by Studio G Architects, this one's a whopper, covering 50,000 square feet with areas dedicated to growing crops for the cafeteria and providing lab space for science classes. At that size, maybe they could even find some room up there for some mini golf or a tennis court. More renderings and details after the jump. From the school:
The oldest public school in the nation, Boston Latin’s green roof is significant in that it was conceived by a group of students who, after seeing An Inconvenient Truth, formed BLS YouthCAN (Climate Action Network), lobbied BLS administration to implement the green roof concept idea, participated in the development of designs, and are spearheading fundraising efforts for the $5 million project. Studio G Architects of Boston was so impressed by the energy and commitment of the students that they donated design services for the project. The roof’s numerous program areas will create a variety of new learning opportunities for BLS students and schools across Massachusetts. State-of-the-art STEM (science, technology, math & engineering) labs form the backbone of the design, enabling students to observe and measure data related to the school’s environmental technology, like calculating the amount of energy being generated by the PVs or the wind velocity of the turbines. A cafeteria garden, greenhouse and orchard demonstrate the accessibility of fresh local produce and help encourage healthy eating habits. A contemplative garden offers a space for repose or for language, art and music classes. Besides the inherent sustainability of training urban kids to be good stewards of the environment, the green roof will lower BLS’ carbon emissions through its planted microclimates, while PVs and turbines will offset its energy consumption. These diverse programming opportunities have inspired an entirely new sustainability curriculum, which is being piloted at BLS this fall and will be available to the other 17 YouthCAN chapters throughout Massachusetts, thereby extending the impact of this revolutionary program space to students beyond BLS.
Forget school-top farms for privileged Manhattan children. You want something truly radical? How about taking over abandoned lots in Detroit so poor single mothers can make a living growing organic produce. That is in part the focus of Grown in Detroit, a new documentary about how the Motor City, on both the large and small scale, is trying to become the manure city. The film is currently screening at a few locations in town as part of the Detroit Windsor International Film Festival. For those of us not in the shrinking city, though, there's an ingenious option to stream the doc on its website, albeit on a pay-what-you-will basis, which is almost as clever as the idea to turn Detroit into one giant, happy farm.