An animation shows how a variety of urban spaces can become miniature farms.

The idea of urban agriculture has spread so widely, you might expect to see tomato plants bursting from every empty city lot.

But in neighborhoods across the country, imagining is about as close as those tomatoes are going to get. Despite its growing cachet, urban agriculture hasn't materialized in many parts of the country. But a growing number of designers are trying to integrate these spaces into new and existing projects to increase access to fresh food in the urban population centers that need it.

This new video, commissioned by the American Society of Landscape Architects, explores ways urban agriculture can be integrated into small spaces within cities. It's part of an online exhibition of animations and case studies about designing sustainable landscapes. Its animation offers a nice visualization of how empty urban spaces can be converted into active and food-producing spaces.

Many of these interventions already exist in cities, in one form or another. About 38 percent of American households grow fruits, vegetables or herbs on their property, according to an article from Urban Land cited by the video. At a more formalized level, many new civic buildings are being designed with community farming spaces and rooftop gardens, though this trend is in its early stages. The examples shown in this video have relevance in almost any city, and many of these ideas are already in place.

The video spends maybe a little too much effort evangelizing about how landscape architects are the ones who can help create these spaces, but the grander message is that there are many opportunities within urban areas to grow food. The visualizations in the film show how significantly these garden spaces can change an urban landscape.

Image courtesy ASLA

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Aerial view of narrow strips of land divided by water, some with houses on them.
    Environment

    The Dutch Can’t Save Us From Rising Seas

    Dutch engineers are renowned for their ability to keep cities dry. But their approach doesn’t necessarily translate to an American context.

  2. Equity

    Why Are So Many People In San Jose Fighting Housing for Teachers?

    The school system’s plan to build affordable apartment units for the city’s teachers has triggered a fierce backlash in one affluent area.

  3. Slogan projected on the Eiffel Tower for World Climate Change Conference
    Environment

    What Local Climate Actions Would Have the Greatest Impact

    In light of even more dire news about our warming planet, leading thinkers tell us the one thing cities and states could do to cut emissions significantly—and fast.

  4. The interior of Grand Central Station
    Design

    Saving Grand Central, 40 Years Later: a Cautionary Tale

    The Supreme Court ruling that rescued the icon also opened the door for other, more controversial preservation cases.

  5. Life

    How Manhattan Became a Rich Ghost Town

    New York’s empty storefronts are a dark omen for the future of cities.