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Urban Epicenter

Urban Vertical Farming Prototype

According to a UN report, by the year 2050, the human population will reach about 9.2 billion people. Nearly 80% (7.2 billion people) of this population will reside in cities. The exponentially increasing population will continue to raise the issue of human environmental impact, including the question of food availability. As available land for agriculture continues to decrease due to population growth and urban expansion, food consumption already exceeds production. The huge migration from rural areas to urban megalopolises will induce a dramatic cultural and social crisis. Massive urbanization will deplete natural resources, and exhaust urban infrastructures and transportation systems, increasing air and soil pollution.

The “Urban Vertical Farm” is a new urban and social vision at an architecture scale in response to these global problems. Situating food production within a building in the city suggests a different worldview and a new urban life style, which challenges the norms of modern life today. It goes beyond simply producing food vertically; rather vertical farm suggests a more holistic approach including the creation of a new civic space, as an urban epicenter.

It has the impact of change on its surroundings. It challenges the existing urban food system, from food cultivation, to packaging, distribution, and consumption. It responses to the needs to reduce the dependence on food grown and transported long distances before arriving on urban consumers, due to decreasing farmland and increasing population within urban area. It responses the need to reduce the impact of agriculture and buildings on the environment. This approach tests the architectural prototypes which incorporate the high-profit, controlled environment agricultural industry into a vertical building type and locate them in the urban environment.

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Gold Medal and Bienal Medalion, “Bienal Miami+Beach” Competition, 2009

1st Prize, Seoul Association of Architects’ “Collaboration with Nature” Competition, 2009

Top 10, Emilio Ambasz Award for Green Architecture, Project of the Year Competition, Architecture of Israel + the European Union 2009/10


Project Information

Architect: Jungmin Nam

Advisor: Ingeborg Rocker

Location: New York, US. (Thesis Project, GSD Harvard University)

Design Period: Spring, 2009


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