Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 4

Urban farming Related Abstracts

4 Finding a Redefinition of the Relationship between Rural and Urban Knowledge

Authors: Bianca Maria Rulli, Lenny Valentino Schiaretti


The considerable recent urbanization has increasingly sharpened environmental and social problems all over the world. During the recent years, many answers to the alarming attitudes in modern cities have emerged: a drastic reduction in the rate of growth is becoming essential for future generations and small scale economies are considered more adaptive and sustainable. According to the concept of degrowth, cities should consider surpassing the centralization of urban living by redefining the relationship between rural and urban knowledge; growing food in cities fundamentally contributes to the increase of social and ecological resilience. Through an innovative approach, this research combines the benefits of urban agriculture (increase of biological diversity, shorter and thus more efficient supply chains, food security) and temporary land use. They stimulate collaborative practices to satisfy the changing needs of communities and stakeholders. The concept proposes a coherent strategy to create a sustainable development of urban spaces, introducing a productive green-network to link specific areas in the city. By shifting the current relationship between architecture and landscape, the former process of ground consumption is deeply revised. Temporary modules can be used as concrete tools to create temporal areas of innovation, transforming vacant or marginal spaces into potential laboratories for the development of the city. The only permanent ground traces, such as foundations, are minimized in order to allow future land re-use. The aim is to describe a new mindset regarding the quality of space in the metropolis which allows, in a completely flexible way, to bring back the green and the urban farming into the cities. The wide possibilities of the research are analyzed in two different case-studies. The first is a regeneration/connection project designated for social housing, the second concerns the use of temporary modules to answer to the potential needs of social structures. The intention of the productive green-network is to link the different vacant spaces to each other as well as to the entire urban fabric. This also generates a potential improvement of the current situation of underprivileged and disadvantaged persons.

Keywords: Land Use, Urban farming, degrowth, green network, temporary building

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3 Agriroofs and Agriwalls: Applications of Food Production in Green Roofs and Green Walls

Authors: Eman M. Elmazek


Green roofs and walls are a rising technology in the global sustainable architectural industry. The idea takes great steps towards the future of sustainable design due to its many benefits. However, there are many barriers and constraints. Economical, structural, and knowledge barriers prevent the spread of the usage of green roofs and living walls. Understanding the benefits and expanding them will spread the idea. Benefits provided by these green spots interrupt and maintain the current urban cover. Food production is one of the benefits of green roofs. It can save money and energy spent in food transportation. The goal of this paper is to put a better understanding of implementing green systems. The paper aims to identify gains versus challenges facing the technology. It surveys with case studies buildings with green roofs and walls used for food production.

Keywords: Urban farming, Green Walls, green roof, roof herb garden

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2 Closed Greenhouse Production Systems for Smart Plant Production in Urban Areas

Authors: U. Schmidt, D. Dannehl, I. Schuch, J. Suhl, T. Rocksch, R. Salazar-Moreno, E. Fitz-Rodrigues, A. Rojano Aquilar, I. Lopez Cruz, G. Navas Gomez, R. A. Abraham, L. C. Irineo, N. G. Gilberto


The integration of agricultural production systems into urban areas is a challenge for the coming decades. Because of increasing greenhouse gas emission and rising resource consumption as well as costs in animal husbandry, the dietary habits of people in the 21st century have to focus on herbal foods. Intensive plant cultivation systems in large cities and megacities require a smart coupling of information, material and energy flow with the urban infrastructure in terms of Horticulture 4.0. In recent years, many puzzle pieces have been developed for these closed processes at the Humboldt University. To compile these for an urban plant production, it has to be optimized and networked with urban infrastructure systems. In the field of heat energy production, it was shown that with closed greenhouse technology and patented heat exchange and storage technology energy can be provided for heating and domestic hot water supply in the city. Closed water circuits can be drastically reducing the water requirements of plant production in urban areas. Ion sensitive sensors and new disinfection methods can help keep circulating nutrient solutions in the system for a longer time in urban plant production greenhouses.

Keywords: Urban farming, Greenhouses, Aquaponics, semi closed, solar heat collector, closed water cycles

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1 Low-Cost Monitoring System for Hydroponic Urban Vertical Farms

Authors: Francesco Ruscio, Paolo Paoletti, Jens Thomas, Paul Myers, Sebastiano Fichera


This paper presents the development of a low-cost monitoring system for a hydroponic urban vertical farm, enabling its automation and a quantitative assessment of the farm performance. Urban farming has seen increasing interest in the last decade thanks to the development of energy efficient and affordable LED lights; however, the optimal configuration of such systems (i.e. amount of nutrients, light-on time, ambient temperature etc.) is mostly based on the farmers’ experience and empirical guidelines. Moreover, even if simple, the maintenance of such systems is labor intensive as it requires water to be topped-up periodically, mixing of the nutrients etc. To unlock the full potential of urban farming, a quantitative understanding of the role that each variable plays in the growth of the plants is needed, together with a higher degree of automation. The low-cost monitoring system proposed in this paper is a step toward filling this knowledge and technological gap, as it enables collection of sensor data related to water and air temperature, water level, humidity, pressure, light intensity, pH and electric conductivity without requiring any human intervention. More sensors and actuators can also easily be added thanks to the modular design of the proposed platform. Data can be accessed remotely via a simple web interface. The proposed platform can be used both for quantitatively optimizing the setup of the farms and for automating some of the most labor-intensive maintenance activities. Moreover, such monitoring system can also potentially be used for high-level decision making, once enough data are collected.

Keywords: Automation, Internet of Things, Urban farming, Monitoring System, Hydroponics

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