Category Archives: planned communities

MIT’s Kent Larson Shows Us a Glimpse of a More Efficient Tomorrow

At present, urbanization around the globe appears to be an unstoppable trend.

Architect Larson wants us to have the good things we like about cities and remove the bad things like too much space for cars and emissions. Using old-Paris as an example, neighborhoods are set up providing compact urban cell inhabitants of 20,000, or so, with everything they need in just a 5 or 10 minute walk.

He says that the city design of the 50s and 60s which is continuing to be built, is obsolete. The innovations that could make the city of the future more desirable will work a lot like a small village of the past.

He did not discuss food in particular, although he shows some urban farming on a top level space. Food stores would obviously be included in his compact urban cells.

In this video, Larson discusses:

  • “Robot” apartments with movable walls
  • Folding cars
  • Driverless cars communicating with pedestrians
  • Melbourne Laneways
  • Boulder’s bike paths and bike-share program

The 2011 Solar Decathlon: Three Entrants Which Included Food Growing in their Models

Each year, as a blogger, I’ve enjoyed covering the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon which takes place on the National Mall in Washington D.C. In this post, I’ve picked three of the college student’s models which each incorporated gardens into their plans. At the end is a link to view all of the contest model videos, if you wish, including entries from China, New Zealand, and Canada, too!

We should all pay attention, because I do believe that small, energy efficient houses incorporating growing your own food spaces are the way of the future. A house doesn’t have to be expensive to provide reliable shelter, either, but we American’s have a hard time imagining something other than what is being thrown at us by the profit-driven developers in the housing industry.

Less will be more. Stuff will be less.
K.M.

1) The modern homestead from Appalachian State University:

2) Not surprisingly, from Middlebury, Vermont, we get a team which includes food growing in their design:

3) Florida International University’s model also has an outdoor eating garden:

TED Talk by Carolyn Steel, A Food Urbanist



TED talk: How food shapes our Cities by Carolyn Steel (16 minutes – October 2009). Carolyn is a “food urbanist.”

“If the city looks after the countryside, the countryside will look after the city.”

For anyone interested in some historical background of how cities such as Rome and London were designed around food supply routes, and how smart city planning today should also be planned around food access, don’t miss this delightful talk by this delightful lady. If you like listening to her as much as I did, I also recommend this article she wrote on her blog about Dutch farms and her book webpage containing excerpts and audio files.



Carolyn Steel MA (Cantab) Dip Arch RIBA

The question of how to feed cities may be one of the biggest contemporary questions, yet it’s never asked: we take for granted that if we walk into a store or a restaurant, food will be there, magically coming from somewhere. Yet, think of it this way: just in London, every single day, 30 million meals must be provided. Without a reliable food supply, even the most modern city would collapse quickly. And most people today eat food of whose provenance they are unaware.

Hungry City by Carolyn Steel

A UK Guardian book review of her book Hungry City: Our Recipe for Disaster.

“Wal-Mart currently dominates the global grocery trade with profits reckoned by the UN at the start of the century to be ‘bigger than the gross domestic product of three quarters of the world’s economies’. Today those profits have doubled. Five companies control 90 per cent of the global grain supply. The world tea market is in the hands of three. Eighty-one per cent of American beef belongs to four giant processing companies.”