There are plenty of ways cities use food as destination spots: restaurants, cafes, grocery stores. But usually the food's already on the table or plucked from the vine. A new design could create a place to grow food in cities and a place for people to visit.
AECOM, a global technical and management support services firm, designed an impressive concept for an urban food jungle. The focus of the design is, of course, on growing fresh food. Large towers that use aquaponic growing systems -- I'm imagining a larger version of this already functional aeroponic garden at O'Hare airport in Chicago -- grow food in various micro-climates at different heights on the towers. AECOM explains their inspiration for the design on issuu:
In a rapidly urbanizing world, we are faced with a very real challenge — supporting a larger population with fewer resources. AECOM’s Urban Food Jungle is conceptual design that responds to the threat of diminishing food security by bringing together sustainable food production, entertainment, education and culinary delight.
From the looks of it, It could be a like a mini amusement park for foodies. AECOM continues:
Ground-level pedestrian circulation enables easy visitor access; meanwhile a floating pod-shaped snack shack serves fare prepared from fruit and vegetables grown on site. Completing this holistic system, food harvested from the Urban Food Jungle can be used to supply local restaurants.
At least in the concept images, this seems like a large space to just use for growing food. Space is maximized by using towers, so I think it's smart that the area is designed for multiple uses. Their idea for a juice bar is a good one, but I think that taking it a step further and building restaurants around the towers or creating a market could attract more people to the site to make it an economically productive urban use. Plus, you could watch the food cycle play out right in front of you.
Check out the full design here.