Rising among the skyscrapers of Shanghai is a sprawling urban farm that could meet the food needs of the 24 million people currently residing in the city. Conceived by architectural firm Sasaki, this ambitious project aims to grow food for the entire population right in the middle of the concrete city. Once constructed, the 247-acre (approx. 100 hectare) area would house several vertical farms, greenhouses as well as seed libraries.
Envisioned as a bustling hub of innovation, education and experimentation, the Sunqiao Urban Agricultural District features an ingenious design that fits seamlessly between the soaring skyscrapers and residential towers that Shanghai is known for. The city’s growing population and limited space has resulted in exorbitant real estate prices in recent decades. Consequently, vertical structures have become a more common sight in what is currently one of the most populous cities in the world.
According to the developers, vertical farming would allow them to produce huge amounts of food in vertically stacked layers, thus eliminating the need for large spaces. The facility will be home to a number of different agricultural platforms, including green walls, algae beds, floating greenhouses and so on. As pointed out by the firm, it will also feature a variety of sustainable farming techniques, such as aquaponics, hydroponics, aeroponics and organic farming. Speaking about the project, Sasaki’s spokesperson said:
This approach actively supports a more sustainable food network while increasing the quality of life in the city through a community program of restaurants, markets, a culinary academy, and pick-your-own experience. As cities continue to expand, we must continue to challenge the dichotomy between what is urban and what is rural. Sunqiao seeks to prove that you can have your kale and eat it too.
In addition to food production, the Sunqiao Urban Agricultural District will serve as a center for agricultural studies, while also fostering community interaction and involvement through regular workshops as well as events. The public will be allowed to tour around the complex and its various facilities, including the science museum, the aquaponic greenhouses among others.
To know more about the project, head over to Sasaki’s official website.