The competition hopes to inspire design research into “larger issues concerning the environment, global food production and the imperative to generate a sense of community in our urban and suburban neighborhoods.”
From Mowing to Growing is not meant to transform each lawn into a garden, but to open us up to the possibilities of self-sustenance, organic growth, and perpetual change. In particular, we seek specific technical, urbanistic, and architectural strategies not simply for the food production required to feed the cities and suburbs, but the possibilities of diet, agriculture, and retrofitted facilities that could achieve that level within the constraints of the local climate.
Citing the work of Fritz Haeg, the competition brief points out that “North Americans devote 40,000 square miles to lawns,” more than is used “for wheat, corn, or tobacco.” Further, U.S. residents “spend $750 million dollars a year on grass seed alone while only 2% of America’s food is locally grown.” So, the competition asks:
How can we break the American love affair with the suburban lawn?
Can green houses be incorporated in skyscrapers?
What are the urban design strategies for food production in cities?
Can food grow on rooftops, parking lots, building facades?
What is required to remove foreclosure signs on lawns and convert them to gardens?
Prizes go as high as $10,000, and judges include Cameron Sinclair and Kate Stohr of Architecture For Humanity, vertical agriculturalist (agriverticality?) Dickson Despommier, and many more. Register by March 31, with submissions due before April 30.