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. Equity

    CityLab University: Inclusionary Zoning

    You’ve seen the term. But do you really know what it means? Here’s your essential primer.

  2. A view from outside a glass office tower at dusk of the workers inside.
    Life

    Cities and the Vertical Economy

    Vertical clustering—of certain high-status industries on the higher floors of buildings, for example—is an important part of urban agglomeration.

  3. Toxic algae collects at a dam on a river in Florida.
    Environment

    Can Florida’s Toxic Algae Be Stopped?

    The algae blooms pose risks to humans and marine animals—and to Florida’s tourism-dependent economy.

  4. Equity

    Mobile Home Owners Find a Lifeline Against Displacement

    When a landlord sells a mobile home park, it can upend an entire community. Through co-ops, residents are finding a way to stay where they live and control their rent costs.

  5. Equity

    Say Hello to Full Employment

    Want to know where the economy is headed? Look at Des Moines.