University essay from Luleå tekniska universitet/Arkitektur och vatten

Abstract: With an increasing urbanization and decreasing food security, the policy places greater demands on the future use of agricultural land and food supply. At the same time as awareness of food consumption increases among individuals, new technologies for farming also develop. The following degree project aims at carrying out a pilot study for further concept development for small-scale urban farming in winter cities. Based on a literature study and inspiration from reference objects, opportunities for continued conceptual development are analysed. These technical aspects together with a study of how public spaces, can or cannot, be used according to the case study’s municipality policy for usage of public space. And these aspects then lay the foundation for an initial concept and design proposal aimed at pointing out the possibilities of the concept. This initial concept is also the basis for a rough estimate of productivity with such urban cultivation tools. The conceptual urban farming tool devised here, is intended to not be taking more attention than necessary and portable. This is to make as little physical and visual impact in the city as possible, and to be adaptable to different places. However, there has been a lack of space for urban farming in the case study's municipal policy, for usage of public spaces. This has meant that the design proposal could not be anchored in accordance with the guidelines the municipality wishes for the use of public spaces. There are documented guidelines for similar use, and the design proposal has been assumed to fit in the policy of using the public space. The tool that has been developed consists of two containers, one of which is intended to work as a working area for harvesting and the other for cultivating. The hydroponic installation chosen in this work has been developed by Bright Agrotech. These installations are called Zipfarm and Zipwall, and are vertical cultivations which by drip irrigation bring nutrients to the plants. These towers that hold the plants during the cultivation period are mounted either in a portable rack or against a wall-based rack. This vertical cultivation method was chosen in this work because of the mobility. With the help of a tool to estimate production that Bright Agrotech provided and technical specifications for the grow lights used in the concept, a rough estimate of the operating cost of 13kr per kilo, to produce leafy green crops, has been calculated. This figure is based solely on the estimated amount of harvest and an estimate of the electricity consumption of the grow lights. The conclusion in this work, is that it is possible to integrate urban agriculture in winter cities with the aid of containers and hydroponic installations. What can be an incentive to not do this today is that electricity consumption can be too expensive, and that it is cheaper to cultivate in other places and transport the food in to the city. 

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