The explosion in urban growth presents opportunities as well as challenges to, among others, our food systems. As a result, many cities are exploring how to create liveable and healthy environments for their citizens that also integrate sustainable ways to produce food.
To support these developments and explore the potential of urban farming, Wageningen University & Research (WUR) organizes an Urban Greenhouse Challenge every other year. For this challenge, students world-wide are invited to develop an urban farming business plan to be implemented in one of the world’s major metropoles.
Challenge accepted by teAMSpirit
We’re proud to announce that “teAMSpirit”, a group of students from our master’s degree Metropolitan Analysis Design and Engineering (MADE), Urban Environmental Management and Plant Technology at WUR, and Architecture at TU Delft, took on WURs challenge. Having been selected for the top-20, this multidisciplinary team is now in the race to be selected as Finalists.
“We are driven by the need for more resilient and sustainable food systems. Climate change and increasing urban populations increase the pressure on agricultural systems to provide adequate food. Therefore, as a team, we want to be part of providing ideas through real-world innovation.”
Designing a greenhouse for a metropolitan area in China
This year, WUR challenged student teams from all over the world to design a business plan for an iconic and circular urban ‘greenhouse’ for a city in China. The requirements for the greenhouse are that it should:
- Produce safe and healthy food for the local neighbourhood and commercial markets and;
- Stimulate a healthy lifestyle and interactions with city dwellers.
Furthermore, the concept should take social, economic, environmental and technical aspects into account. Ultimately, the winning design will provide inspiration for a new development project “the Marina Bay Center Agricultural Park”, situated in one of the world’s major metropoles: Guangdong in China.
A business concept called “The Turtle”
TeAMSpirit’s concept, nicknamed “The Turtle”, is developed around creating synergies between technology, society, and traditions. The aim is to incorporate each of these aspects in their business plan. The concept starts at one of the main challenges currently faced by the urban area – this includes adapting to climate change, agricultural resilience, and green waste management. The challenges are incorporated into the building while keeping in mind the need for circularity, sustainability, and innovation.
USPs: 4 seasons in one greenhouse
One of the unique selling points of this business plan is the fact that the students aim to design the urban greenhouse in such a way that all seasons will be simulated in 4 separate greenhouse pods. This creates 4 controllable environments for investigating seasonal crop-sequences. Therefore, this provides an excellent research opportunity to develop a resilient agricultural system including state-of-the-art technology and full circularity.
Overall, the functions of their ‘greenhouse’ are tailored towards the societal context it is situated in. This means that the concept aims to facilitate societal functions, such as providing energy, food, and research insights. It does this by providing the following functions: a high-tech multi-season greenhouse, a R&D center, a living lab platform, a green power plant, facilitating co-creation between science and people, and an attractive shared space.
“To illustrate, our idea is to, among others, have citizens participate in the green exchange program facilitated by the greenhouse in which green waste is collected by citizens who in return receive crops grown in house. Also, the greenhouse facilitates a living lab platform where researchers and citizens connect technology with the societal context.”
Can you help TeAMSpirit?
The past 6 months, teAMSpirits’ business plan has seen many improvements. No doubt that with their diverse backgrounds and coming from different domains, teAMSpirit is surely one to keep an eye on. And you're in luck... To further develop the aspects of their building concept, this team is looking for help in the form of:
- a mastermind in creating visuals (or just really likes doing it)
- an expert in ‘sustainable human behavior’
- an expert in ‘passive architecture and thermodynamics’
If you have got what it takes to give teAMSpirit a helping hand, please reach out via:
mail: email@example.com or send the team a message on their social accounts:
“We strongly believe in being part of a community that brings innovations, technologies, and theories learned throughout our academic careers together to solve a challenge like this one. This drives us to envision resilient urban agriculture systems by connecting resource streams, cutting edge technologies, society and tradition to shape a healthy and sustainable future.”
Masterclass by WUR: Urban Greenhouse Live Event 2020
Last but not least, if you could do with some urban farming inspiration? You're invited to join the one time only 'Masterclass Urban Greenhouse Live Event'. This Wednesday, 8th of April from 13:00 to 15:30h.
In this livestream broadcast from pop-up studio at the WUR campus, Jan Meijroos (Mashable Benelux) and Stephan Petermann (MANN) will talk about the future of urban farming with three inspiring speakers and participants of the Urban Greenhouse Challenge.
Please register here for the live event on the official Urban Greenhouse website.