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. photo: A woman crosses an overpass above the 101 freeway in Los Angeles, California.
    Transportation

    Navigation Apps Changed the Politics of Traffic

    In an excerpt from the new book The Future of Transportation, CityLab’s Laura Bliss adds up the “price of anarchy” when it comes to traffic navigation apps.

  2. Equity

    D.C.’s Vacant Stadium Dilemma

    RFK Stadium is taking up a very desirable plot of federal land in Washington, D.C.—and no one can agree what to do with it.

  3. A view of a Harlem corner.
    Equity

    How Ronald Reagan Halted the Early Anti-Gentrification Movement

    An excerpt from Newcomers, a new book by Matthew L. Schuerman, documents the early history of the anti-gentrification and back-to-the-city movements.

  4. a bike rider and bus riders in Seattle.
    Perspective

    There’s No App for Getting People Out of Their Cars

    “Mobility as a Service” boosters say that technology can nudge drivers to adopt transit and micromobility. But big mode shifts will take more than a cool app.  

  5. Three men wearing suits raise shovels full of dirt in front of an American flag.
    Equity

    How Cities and States Can Stop the Incentive Madness

    Economist Timothy Bartik explains why the public costs of tax incentives often outweigh the benefits, and describes a model business-incentive package.

×