[act-ma] Urban Agriculture and the Form of the City

George Mokray gmoke at world.std.com
Wed May 21 19:26:58 PDT 2014

Urban Agriculture and the Form of the City
June 19, 2014 - 9:00am - June 20, 2014 - 5:00pm
Harvard Graduate School of Design, George Gund Hall, 48 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA
Cost:  $1,150.00
Registration Expire Date: June 19, 2014 - 9:00am
Editorial Comment:  Audit option?

This course explores a wide range of innovative projects in the U.S. and abroad that are transforming sites, buildings, and urban districts by adding viable urban agriculture. The course looks beyond the compelling images and provides specific practical and technical information for professionals as resources for new projects and initiatives in the future. The course will employ a combination of presentations, discussion with practitioners and leaders in urban agriculture, and a local field trip taking advantage of Boston’s model approaches.

Day one begins with an overview of urban agriculture and current trends, including the social, environmental, and economic factors leading to its emergence as a major component of future city-building. Participants will then discuss a series of case studies that investigate emerging best practices, and reveal the technical and regulatory challenges that projects have encountered and overcome. These examples will describe farming in urban open spaces that is being accomplished in urban districts on surprisingly small lots. Other case studies will focus on the relationship between architecture and urban agriculture, considering examples of farming within and on top of buildings--and new systems to incorporate agriculture into building facades. The design opportunities will be linked to the need to solve many technical and regulatory issues, ranging from roof loading, insulation, soil safety, the use of pesticides, storage, and transportation of materials and food.  The discussions will also consider the urban design and urban planning opportunities associated with urban agriculture to help transform communities.

Key Topics:
From vision to reality: Trends, inspirations, and project opportunities
Urban agriculture and site design: best practices and environmental implications
Buildings as farms: Opportunities inside, outside, and on top of buildings
New systems and technologies: comprehensive, integrated approaches
Urban design for agriculture: design standards, reviews, and zoning

Class Activities
The course will be conducted through a sequence of presentations and interactive seminar sessions exploring the course's major topics. Each segment will be accompanied with summaries and links or references to programs, technical information, and projects. The course will include a field trip to two operating farms in urban neighborhoods of Boston, one which is a for-profit organization and one with a non-profit structure. The field trip will set the context for a presentation and discussion of how the City of Boston is advancing new zoning rules and design standards so that urban agriculture blooms in the dense, New England environment.

Audience and Applications
This session is appropriate for architects, landscape architects, urban designers and planners, urban developers and landowners, and community advocates. Attendees will develop and understanding of the technical issues in each field related to urban agriculture and apply that information to help implement urban agriculture projects.

Learning Objectives
Understand the range of emerging projects incorporating urban agriculture and how design is needed to integrate aesthetics and support economically viable operations.
Assess and apply technical information about innovations in site, building, and environmental design associated with urban farming.
Evaluate the potential benefits of urban agriculture to meet LEED and the new LEED-ND standards.
Understand key regulatory issues and approaches needed to achieve permits and approvals.
Use a wide number of local, national and international case studies as precedents for consideration in project planning, programming and design.

Academic Leader(s):
Steven Cecil, President, The Cecil Group, Boston, MA.

Guest Speaker(s):
Marie Mercurio, Senior Planner, Boston Redevelopment Authority, Boston, MA.
April Philips, Principal, April Philips Design Works, San Rafael, CA.
Lauren Rathmell, Greenhouse Director/Founding Member, Lufa Farms, Montreal, Quebec.

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