It is becoming increasingly understood that both our forms of settlement and methods of sustenance are functionally incompatible with a planet of limited natural resources. Modern cities exhibit decisively ‘linear’ resource metabolisms where food, fresh water, energy, and other resource demands are imported from great distances, consumed, and then swiftly dispensed as sewage or rubbish that natural world cannot easily process.
The principle purpose of this study is to present the argument that the concept of urban agriculture can help resolve the long-standing paradox of humanity’s inclination toward exponential demographic and economic growth while inhabiting a planet of limited material means. The study is comprised of three main parts, through which is made an effort of establishing the potential of achieving urban sustainability.
In particular, the first part focuses on the intellectual framework necessary to assess urban agriculture’s effect on human and ecological systems. The definition of urban agriculture, the various typologies, along with the energy issues are presented. Also, both the benefits and the constraints, in reference with the environment, the society and the economy are mentioned, resulting to the presentation of four case studies in four different world countries.
The second part is a presentation of a new urban design strategy – the Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes – which acts as the ‘manifest’ of this research project. Thereafter, the conceptual approaches and examples of the idea of vertical farming are demonstrated.
Conclusively, in the third part, by leveraging information and knowledge, which obtained in from the foregoing, the proposal of the consideration of urban agriculture as a tool in the field of urban equipment is indicated. Two approaches are being analyzed. The first, having an urban planning character, suggests the formation of a method of evaluating and locating urban spaces, inside the urban fabric. The second approach illustrates the design process of a ‘vertical-active-hydroponic-farming’ prototype, which has the potential of being hanged from existing building structures or being located on the ground as a part of the urban public or semi-public space.