Integrating Housing With Food Production

Following on from yesterday’s post, I thought that today I would briefly outline some of the ways that architects, city planners, growers and permaculture design can come together to rethink how we formulate our built environments and produce food. More joined up thinking is urgently needed – but what exactly does integrating housing with food production look like?

First of all, homes can themselves be designed with food production built into their very DNA. This might include, for example:

  • Edible landscaping on green roof/ living roof structures.
  • Rooftop kitchen gardens.
  • Green walls with edible rather than just ornamental planting.
  • Integral greenhouses/ conservatories (as in an Earthship design) where food can be grown.
  • Courtyards/ balconies or other spaces equipped for food production.

Whenever a home is designed, thought should also be given to how plants and the built environment work together. Paying more attention to the ways in which nature can complement good sustainable building design. And also the ways in which good sustainable building design can actually improve the function and amenity of a garden space for food production. For example:

  • Fruit or nut trees could be incorporated outside a property for shade/ wind breaking or other environmental benefits.
  • Homes placed and orientated so as to provide the perfect space on a plot for a kitchen garden.
  • Transitional spaces – porch or pergola structures, for example – which are both additional living space and growing space at once.

Thinking holistically about home design and food production is one important strategy we need to employ to create the resilient and sustainable settlements of the future.

Photo: Earthship – Kyle Greenberg, Flickr

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