We have one week to go before the symposium 'Planning the future of Amsterdam & New York' is organized at ARCAM, the Amsterdam Centre for Architecture (July 5, 1-5 pm). This week, the themes to be discussed during the symposium will be addressed in this blog daily: Eating, Breathing, Making, Moving and Dwelling, which are also the main themes of the exhibition 'Glimpses' now on show at ARCAM and the Center for Architecture New York. We will start today with EATING.
In the Exhibition Glimpses we have challenged ten architecture and landscape architecture firms to imagine an urban future with the focus on above themes. For 'Eating' we have asked the Dutch firm van Bergen Kolpa Architecten and Work AC to design visions for local food production in New York and Amsterdam. How will food be intregrated in our cities of tomorrow?
van Bergen Kolpa Architecten has examined the way food production on a more regional scale can be integrated in the city of Amsterdam. In their vision the Dutch polders, once the icon of our food production landscapes, function like parks for the Amsterdam metropolis. These green wedges can be developed into a Landscape Supermarket.
Prompted by the growing demand for recognizable food, Amsterdam Homemade directly involves city dwellers from all cultures in food production, stimulating local economies and entrepreneurship.
By making use of the available soil types and differences in water levels, ideal conditions can be created for a wide variety of produce: pandan and risotto rice is cultivated on the water terraces of the Waterland Wedge. Tilapia fish is reared in water basins in the IJ Wedge and kiwis and avocados grow along undulating fruit walls in the Amsterdamse Bos Wedge.
The requisite landscape climates are created by means of old techniques such as heat accumulation in serpentine walls and modern techniques such as insulating vapor roofs and the use of thermal heat. Van Bergen Kolpa Architecten has focussed on the green wedge 'Brettenzone'.
Their Glimpse 'Amsterdam Homemade' is divided into 1 hectare plots (~2.5 acres), which can be rented and managed by entrepreneurs and city dwellers in a cooperative way. The produce is sold in Amsterdam Homemade’s market buildings. The combination of open space and entrepreneurship, consumption and recreation is central to the development of Amsterdam’s metropolitan park landscape. In this vision food and recreation can be combined and a new form of coherence could be organized around food.
The New York based firm Work AC has named their Glimpse of the future 'Infoodstructure Brooklyn'. It is a vision for Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York. They explain Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant are poorer Brooklyn neighborhoods, underserved by supermarkets and suffering from a number of health problems associated with poor diet. They propose a new food infrastructure for these neighborhoods that can eventually spread to the entire city.
Work AC declares that New York will be completely free of the combustion engine and private transportation will be dramatically reduced. Most people will travel by foot, bicycle, rickshaw or an expanded network of public transportation, including a new gondola-based personal rapid transit system which will seat up to eight people and allow each car to choose a unique destination.
Some streets will therefore be able to be completely liberated from vehicular traffic and transformed into vast, linear urban farms for the community - with bicycles and pedestrians alongside. Concentrating primarily on North-South running streets, this new network of fresh produce will not provide all of the district’s caloric requirements, but will introduce people to the pleasures of organically grown fresh fruit and vegetables. Bodegas, Greenmarkets, and Hubs will specialize in one type of organic specialty food: fish, meat, vegetables, fruit, dairy etc.
The visions of van Bergen Kolpa and Work AC are very different but are both showing how food and urbanism can work together. They also show that our existing food systems with the growing population has to be reinvented. Other models are needed. Also the human dimension in both plans is very interesting.
During the symposium 'Planning the future of Amsterdam & New York' at ARCAM (July 5) we will discuss the role of food production in planning issues further.
See for more information and subscription: ARCAM