Saturday, May 7, 2011

Building Sustainable Communities

Imagine new neighbourhoods incorporating a working farm ready to accommodate the community's nutritional needs. It sounds like a utopian vision but some architects and planners are working with the idea.

Community gardens are a familiar manifestation of residential-area agriculture, but many of the new designs are incorporating bigger and more integral farms.

Several communities are being planned. One in Milliken Colorado is planning an 'Agriburbia' of 618 acres where almost half the land is used for commercial farming. Another 135 of the acres would go to parks and natural habitat, and the rest would host 994 dwellings.

"In Vancouver, a 536-acre proposed project, dubbed the Southlands, would host 2,000 housing units ranging from multifamily dwellings to single-family homes to small farmsteads and larger farms. All the residents in this 'agrarian urbanism,' would contribute, in their own way, to food production."

Indeed some issues which need to be worked out are farm smells and noises, pesticide drift and genetic cross-contamination. (A good argument could be made for organic produce.)