Roof-farming southeast London


Swiss Cheese City, by London-based architecture firm Agents of Change (AOC), proposes that “vacancy in cities” is really “a starting point for a new urban form.” Accordingly, the project hopes to “generate new possibilities from holes in the built fabric,” such as “Special Cultivation Zones (SCZs).”
Special Cultivation Zones are an urban land-bank, defined by “temporary boundaries within which land can’t be bought or sold, and emerging skills, social networks and locally-grown produce are cultivated in the ‘vacant’ city fabric.”
(For more on urban farming, see Pruned or Inhabitat).
Then there’s AOC’s Croydon Roof Divercity project –


– which radically rethinks the landscape of Croydon’s roofs (and sounds really, really fun): “Taking the flat roofs of Croydon as our testbed,” they write, “we propose a new roofscape for the city – beaches, ice rinks, golf courses, allotments, skateboard parks and pasture refresh Croydon’s tired concrete.” How about a shooting range? (For more on green roofs, see Inhabitat).
After all, AOC asks, how could London be adapted “to an agricultural logic – the logic of rotation, seasons, ground and growth?”
Thus, with a vision straight out of sci-fi, they describe Hackney New Garden City, complete with an “Agricultural Action Zone (AAZ).” This would include “a self-sufficient ecology of grass roads, localised rainwater collection, organic solar films and biological compost systems… liberating the ground’s agricultural potential.”


[Images: Hackney New Garden City, before and after].

For another place you could put those ideas to work, see Philadelphia’s Urban Voids; then check out these photos of “arbortecture” – or, plants growing out of buildings. (Via Pruned).

5 thoughts on “Roof-farming southeast London”

  1. If you look closely at the swiss cheese city picture, you’ll recognize that part of it is a typical Chinese Propaganda poster image. (Like you’d see in: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/9054960094/qid=1136578515/sr=8-3/ref=pd_bbs_3/104-6911723-7044745?n=507846&s=books&v=glance (a fun book if you like this sort of surreal chinese communist poster art. It’s kind of a Lenin-meets-Confucious insanity with a heavy dose of courageous, progressive, inhumanly cheery and resolute idealized Asian portraits mixed in.)

    I keep waiting for the day when the rooftops of new buildings are required to fulfill some function besides keeping rain out. Water catchement, solar power, rooftop garden, or at least living CO2 sink/air filter would be a good start. I’d love it if what I saw flying into SFO was a vast sea of checkerboard green tile, grouted with bicycle-filled streets.

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