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Hanging gardens of Barcelona | Self-reliant cities

October 15, 2009


The Why Factory [T?F] is a new Urban Think Tank founded by MVRDV together with Delft University of Technology. T?F wants to give argumentation back to the architectural and urbanistic world and is concentrated on the production of models and visualizations for future cities. ANYWHERE. T?F makes new cities! It researches possible directions of our urban futures: The Future City Program. T?F describes it’s research on the Future City as an undertaken program through the interactive composition of three fields: the speculation on possible theoretical models in the model city program, making counter proposals for existing cities and storing its knowledge through a evolutionary gaming program.

At T?F site we found this interesting-utopic project called Hanging gardens of Barcelona as part of their “Dream Green” projects. As read: The global food industry is the subject of our research. What impact do our eating habits have and what is our role as urban planners in this context?

Design statements are: The food industry is one of needless transportation and waste. We transport food from every corner of the world and while we produce more than we can consume, we’re still hungry. In our global footprint the food industry is one of the largest industries, dwarfing other industries such as energy production and the building industry. The biggest offender within the food industry is without a doubt the meat sector. Ethical issues aside, the devastating environmental effects of the livestock industry and the sheer amount of land used make us question our western eating habits and look for an alternative. Project challenges the global food industry and explore the possibilities and impossibilities of a localized food chain. Land use and transportation is minimized in the self-sustaining cities of the totalitarian vegan order.


Global food transportation

The design project illustrates the massive scale of intervention required to achieve even a small percentage of self-reliancy in food production in Barcelona. To be efficient green must go large scale:



Project by Nicola Placella and Magnus Svensson. Prof Winy Maas Tutors: Ulf Hackauf, Pirjo Haikola with Alexander Sverdlov and Peter Mensinga
Collaborators: Jaap Wiedenhoff (Arup), John Thackara, Paul van Bergen (DGMR)

More info about The Why Factory here.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. boidus permalink
    November 25, 2009 3:54 pm

    I saw Maas discuss Pig City at the Barbican ethics debate last year and can understand how his conceptual approach can generate ideas that could solve the problems of the city.

    Recently I have been reading Hungry City by Carolyn Steel, which analyses how food shapes our city. It emphasisies the city as a giant consumer of resources in constant need of food to sasiate the appetite. With this in mind I can understand the approach of F=Dream Green in bringing food production to the heart of the city.

    These are issues that we will need to confront in the future or we will find that food supplies will not meet food demand.

    Keen to know what other feel about food production and the city?


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