For a theme based on “our environmental hopes and aspirations”, I feel as if this is perfect for me to explore either Photoshop or Illustrator to create a beautiful digital piece inspired by what I imagine our future to look like. This theme has made me reflect upon my previous university work, from my Major Project Synthesis, to my Dissertation and a few graphics I created throughout my research.
I want to explore this deeper and create a radical visual of what our future in cities can look like if we were to incorporate nature back into our cities.
I hope to show that whilst the visual may not be that of reality, it is important to connect with nature within our cities to help create a healthier, sustainable and renewable future.
Here I have quickly sketches different functions that my hybrid building design can have. These functions aim to help the building be self-sufficient and sustainable.
Pink – Recycling/art studios and workshops
These workshops will encourage creative minds to engage in artwork with recycled materials. There could be workshops that help people fix what is broken or renovate furniture. Capitalising on this idea of reduce, reuse, recycle. Fixing and repairing rather than throwing away.
Blue – Restaurants
Restaurants within the building could utilise the gardening spaces or the vertical farms to have fresh food for their dishes.
Green – Vertical farming
Vertical farming within the building can help produce food markets within the building or in surrounding areas.
Orange – Education
Education within this building could be for art education on reuse of materials or how to grow crops.
Yellow – Shops/businesses
These shops and businesses could be put into place if they are selling creations made from recycled materials to encourage others to renovate rather than throw away. They could sell produce that they grow including fruit/vegetables/flowers.
Purple – Animal keeping
Gardening areas could be used to host animals that can provide food to residents. Bee keeping will be helpful in producing honey. Chickens can give us eggs. Quail can help remove insects and bugs from crops if they are in gardening areas, they can also provide natural fertiliser (same with chickens). More intensive animal keeping can include keeping cows, goats and pigs. Cows and goats could provide milk and natural fertiliser. Pigs can help by eating food waste and producing natural fertilisers. These animals may be slightly ambitious.
Red – Communal gardens
Communal gardens can give residents the opportunity to grow their own crops and give them access to fresh food or to provide to local food banks.
Looking at using large spaces, this car park seems to be a good potential site based on my found statistics. Many people in Peckham do not own a car, this space can be utilised to benefit Peckham in a different way.
Taking the use of bridges from the precedent by Kengo Kuma, the bridges in my concept would link different buildings. It would allow direct links to different areas.
To incorporate the use of farming, there could be a floor dedicated to indoor vertical farming and a floor dedicated to outdoor farming. The indoor farms would allow for fruits and vegetables that need a hot climate to be grown all year round.
A unique concept is the first one below. The building could be make up of a unique shape rotated on a single point. These could create steps on the outside of the building leading to the top. There could be bridges to each building with platforms coming off them that can be used for outdoor farming, garden or greenery space.
My proposal for Peckham would be to introduce more greenery and art areas. It would be beneficial to focus on the commercial areas and how they can be improved through urban agriculture. Can having more nature improve our cities?
Peckham is a very diverse ethnic area, within the area there are many different ethnic restaurants and takeaways. Within the UK, we know that 40% of our food is imported. An idea I want to propose was that there could be communal or private gardens designated to different cuisines. Restaurant or takeaway owners could grow their own ethnic crops right in the area where they sell it or create their dishes. The produce would be fresh, and the owners know exactly where it has come from, and what has gone into the production of these vegetables (chemicals, fertilisers etc). It would be a good opportunity to create new jobs for those who want to employ someone to tend the crops.
With residential communal gardens, it could also be an opportunity to help feed the those in need but also acts as an educational point for the younger generation to learn essential skills. Not only would this bring more exotic foods to the UK, but it would also reduce traffic pollution and lesson the need for long-distance imports.
With growing vegetables in city, it could generate the opportunity for better waste management schemes. Food waste could be used for compost, making natural fertiliser for the crops. It would mean that no grown food goes to waste, it could also generate profit if there is an abundance of fertiliser that can be sold to other companies.
Peckham is a suburban area, so it is dominated by concrete, metal, and brick. There is not much greenery within this area, even where there is empty space. When making the city greener, there would need to be better pathways that are easy to navigate. Thus, making it safer for children and the elderly. More nature would reduce pollution making the air cleaner. An increased amount of green space would encourage exercise and opportunities for pitches and courts to be implemented.
An important aspect of Peckham shops is that they have large openings into the store rather than a small door. This makes the area more inviting and allows the owners to put their goods closer to the public. It engages with the public better than what a small, enclosed space does. This should be an aspect of Peckham that is embraced rather than changed.
Art within Peckham should be embraced. There isn’t a single area in Peckham where you can look and not see artistic expression. Certain areas could be used for design, encouraging the people of the city to express themselves. This can be done by implementing buildings or walls dedicated to expression. If it is displayed in one place it can become and installation artwork area where the work can be appreciated by locals. Perhaps companies can be encouraged to commission local artists to paint relevant images to the shutters on their shops when they are closed.
Peckham is a high traffic area and there are a lot of pedestrians in this area throughout the days. Making safer, perhaps wider pathways would be a safer option. If there are direct links between different places, it would make it safer for pedestrians to navigate different places. If there are less areas for cars, it would reduce potential collisions.
For our first dissertation meeting we were tasked with writing an abstract and creating a mood board of our interests. My main interest is urban agriculture. As you can see from below I have included projects, that if you’re interested in nature in cities, you should take a look at: The Farmhouse and The Vertical Farm. I have included important quotes (written below) from the interviews and documentaries that I have watched that have inspired me to undertake this topic for my dissertation.
I had the assumption when researching for my dissertation project that I would want to write about climate change and sustainability only. I researched into urban agriculture and I realised that it is an essential method for us to begin to do to help climate change and the incoming global food crisis.
David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet
“Right now, we’re facing a manmade disaster of global scale.”
“So, what do we do? It’s quite straight forward. It’s been staring us in the face all along. To restore stability to our planet, we must restore it’s biodiversity.”
“If we take care of nature, nature will take care of us.”
“When it comes to the land, we must radically reduce the area we use to farm, so that we can make space for returning wilderness.”
– David Attenborough, natural historian.
“I can control the environment, I control the water, I control the nutrients. I love this, I can control every aspect of growing my own food.”
– Troy Albright, CEO of True Garden
“The vegetables we saw growing at True Garden were just growing, right there. There was no soil, there was minimal water. It was really just their roots hanging in these hollow tubes, being saturated in nutirents and substances and growing to be the most beautiful vegetables.”
– Lauren Kelly Piergallini, reporter
“One of the most important steps that we’ve done is used the raised vegetables beds. When we are eating that much produce, it’s really important. So we can have clean soil that has been brought in. We also know that lead doesn’t generally transfer into fruits so this beautiful blood plum behind us is totally safe to eat from.”
“Much of the composting happens in situ just by chopping the branches and leaving them on the ground underneath the plant.”
“One of the things that’s so concerning about the state that we’re in at the moment is so many people are losing that connection to the land. So The Plummery has been an experiment in how can we regain that connection to food in the city.”
David Attenborough’s recent documentary on Netflix shows us how humans have been affecting the planet. The documentary showcases our beautiful planet and how we are destroying it through our greed for resources and thirst for expansion. Within this witness statement, he goes into depth about what the world can become if we don’t change our ways.
With our growing population, which since 1937 has grown a staggering 5.5 billion people, it will be necessary to change our diet if we want to resolve the current issues. Farmland takes up half of the world’s fertile land. Humans demand space and demand growth and we simply take resources without caring for the consequences. Deforestation for resources and land has caused an increased amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Additionally, the amount of wildlife has decreased from 66% in 1937 to a mere 35% in 2020.
The increasing heat of our planet was not noticeable when it was only affecting the coral in the sea. When the sea could no longer absorb the heat, the ice in the Antarctic began to melt. The polar caps had an important part to play with keeping our planet cool; they would reflect sunlight away from the Earth. As they have begun melting, they are reflecting less and less sunlight, thus the temperature of our planet increasing by four degrees.
We should no longer cut down forests as we can utilise the land we have already cultivated. We can grow crops in cities and indoors with new technology. We need to allow nature and wildlife to breathe and recuperate. The only way to fix the damage we have caused is to nurture nature and live in harmony. Otherwise, we are consequently destroying ourselves.
Can artificial and natural ecosystems coexist? Integrating nature into urban areas is valuable for the environment and the economy. Is it possible for food production to be more local? Urban agriculture and vertical farming say ‘yes’. It is beneficial for us to have local food for our future. With the growing population and an increasing demand for food, it is necessary for us to produce our own food. If it is done locally is will be environmentally beneficial. With local food, there would be lesser needs for long distance imports and reducing the pollution that comes from this. With incoming Brexit and a looming ‘no deal’, it is likely that import and export prices to the EU will increase. It could lead to higher prices and a shortage of essential goods.
2020 was an incredibly scary year. It impacted every single one of us and caused us to change how we acted. It allowed us to reflect on our past actions. The pandemic was one of the scariest and most unknowing times of my life. On one hand, it was absolutely devastating to the whole world. On the contrary, there were many new opportunities for us to explore. Technology allowed us to stay connected with our loved ones and colleagues. It presented a new way of life through the cameras in our phones, laptops, tablets and computers. It was certainly a struggle adjusting to this lifestyle for the time being. However; it allowed us to reflect on our lifestyle and the current issues at the time.
From being in lockdown on and off, we wanted to stay connected to nature. We wanted a relationship with natural life to keep us physically and mentally well. With the economy in downhill, companies no longer being able to afford to keep their staff, arising issues of world hunger with the increasing population, we decided to take matters into our own hands. The public began to grow their own fruit and vegetables. It became popular amongst city-folk to grow our own greens; and we continue to do this even today. We were bringing greenery back into our cities, helping feed the growing population with our own home-grown food.
As we continued to reconnect with nature, our air became cleaner, our cities became greener. We began to rely less and less on nationwide imports. With Brexit in full swing and our trades being affected, it was a necessity for us to take growing food into our own hands (quite literally!). We no longer need to worry about people going hungry as we can get food from our own back gardens, rooftops or even basements! Our cities have become self-sufficient, allowing forests to regrow as our need for farm land has become less of a necessity. No land goes to waste. Our cities are now filled to the brim with, greenery, communal gardens, allotments packed with fruit and veg and roof-top gardens.
We are being healthier and feeling healthier. Being able to know exactly where my food comes from, knowing it grows in my very own garden, is an accomplishment to me. There is no greater feeling than nurturing and caring for a plant and being able to reap the rewards. The food is better and even tastes better.
It is not only our cities that have been affected. Our seas have become healthy once again, they are no longer being polluted with chemicals from agricultural run-off. Wildlife is thriving where there is no human interference. We have adopted the natural eco-system ideals of being self-sufficient and we can really see the results. Even today we are still trying to reverse the effects of climate change. It was the consequences of our actions that led to it. But we are improving, we are learning, we are educating our children and grandchildren. We are creating a better future for those who we will leave behind.