This is an excerpt from the Agriburbia™ website…
|The Agriburbia™ Concept
Agriburbia™ is an innovative and growing design movement that integrates aspects of agrarianism with land development. Agriburbia™ includes characteristics of New Urbanism, modernism and historic preservation, and other environmentally sustainable principles of real estate development.
Agriburbia™ combines the positive social, cultural, physical and financial characteristics from both the urban and rural lifestyles to create an entirely new landuse concept. Agriburbia™ integrates food production as an integral element in the community design, social network, and financial viability of the neighborhood.
Agriburbia™ promotes and supports the following policies and principles in each mixed-use community:
Agricultural Production: No loss of agricultural value or revenue (“Green Fields” development), or production of 30% of dietary requirements of the project or equivalent cash from sales crops, or combination thereof.
Locally Grown Food: Production of a significant portion (30 to 50%) of dietary requirements grown within or in the immediate surrounding area of the community
Conserves and Promotes Natural Resources: Appropriate and efficient use of natural resources to provide housing, transportation, recreation and fresh food through creative, harmonious land planning and landscape architecture for the community. This includes use of alternative energy sources as well as land and water.
Self Sufficiency: Provide a commercially viable opportunity for enhanced self- sufficiency for community residents, tenants, and guests.
- Sustainable Energy Practices : Integrate solar and geothermal technology to provide sustainable energy sources for the community.
Financing: Incorporate established entities (Metropolitan Districts, HOAs) to finance both traditional infrastructure (streets, water, sewer) and environmentally friendly agricultural infrastructure (drip irrigation)
|Example Agriburbia™ Design Project An example of the Agriburbia™ land planning design is this 640-acre parcel in Southern Weld County, Colorado. It includes for 980 homes, including multi-family town homes to two (2) acre permaculture home sites.
Each Agriburbia™ mixed-use campus is centered on an agrarian concept where traditional suburban landscaping and open space is replaced with orchards, vineyards, and other perennial crops for the benefit of the neighborhood and surrounding communities. A limited amount of active recreation area is provided. The balance of the open space is designed as productive organic agricultural landscape. These lands will be owned and actively managed by the Home Owner’s Association (HOA) or Metropolitan Districts. Private farm contracts will be awarded for these prime, organic agricultural parcels. It is anticipated thatAgriburbia™ will provide agricultural opportunities within and outside the community.
In addition to this shared resource, each mixed-use campus is designed to have a significant number of home sites capable of useful agricultural production. Infrastructure such as non-potable water will be provided for these privates home sites. The home owner will have the option to participate in the community agriculture production. The positive and productive results of and Agriburbia™ mixed-use campus will be the combination of public and private production of agricultural products for the community and neighboring communities.
So what do you think about Agriburbia™?
Is this a good thing? The next step to getting local agriculture to suburban neighborhoods or is this just a good ol’ American quick fix? I mean, its even two words glued together- American dream style. My instinct tells me anything that’s trademarked probably is corporate, money grabbing, and something I want to stay away from, but I’m interested in this concept.
I got the Agriburbia™ idea from the awesome community food listserve. Rob Jones, of Loudoun County, VA, responded to the email raising questions about the proposed project. Is this concept truly trademark-able considering the many, many times that gardens have been planned into communities in the past? What about the water supply for this new community and its farms and gardens. Would water rights need to be bought? If so, the community can certainly not be called self-sufficient. He also wondered about wastewater and the effects of disturbing the native soils, all valid concerns. Finally, He maintain “A major component in all of this is a government with a balanced, progressive vision, as all of us have surely experienced on some level.” Bravo Rob, I agree with you entirely.
As for me, I have to wonder about the whole thing. Agriburbia™ is just a concept to bring agriculture to suburbia, it is a temporary solution. I think that it could have to potential to contribute to suburban sprawl. Suburban neighborhoods are often defined by low population density and a few pedestrian routes. Wikipedia actually has a pretty good site about suburban sprawla.
I think the main problem is that we Americans are caught up in the idea of suburbia, just as were are in love with the idea of the lawn which I talk about in my article about Fritz Haeg. What we need is to get away from suburbia and from lawns. We need to stop sprawl, consolidate and use all of the spaces in the urban centers before we continue to grow outward. One way to do this is to plan urban growth boundaries into cities.
An urban growth boundary is a regional boundary, set in an attempt to control urbanization by designating the area inside the boundary for higher density urban development and the area outside for lower density rural development. Right now Oregon, Washington, and Tennessee require that their cities create urban growth boundaries. Thats not very many cities. Also, Boulder, CO; Twin Cities, MN; Virginia Beach, VA; Lexington, KT; and San Francisco Bay area, CA have urban growth boundaries of one sort or another.
People living in cities have a smaller carbon footprint than those living in the country- they often do no have or use vehicles regularly, their houses are smaller, meaning less heat and electricity per space, and they live in much more tightly packed spaces. Also, if people were concentrated in urban centers than food distribution (hopefully local) could be more efficient.
Of course, its easy for me to say that people should live in more tightly packed communities, I was privileged enough to grow up on a farm in rural Maryland. How can I, who grew up with 6 fields, orchards, and a creek, judge people who just want to get out of the city and have a front yard for their children? Where do we draw the line between happiness and sacrifice for the environment (and our future generations)? How about healthier and better planned cities!
Check out this PDF about urban growth boundaries in California.
Here’s the website for Greenbelt Alliance of the San Francisco Bay area.
Click here to learn more about the urban growth boundary around Portland, OR.
Portland, OR is pretty amazing in terms of city planning. I’ve talked with an alum of my school who is an urban planner out there. She worked on the Diggable City, a planning project that plans urban agriculture into urban communities. Check it out- its amazing! It deserves a post of its own when I find out more about it.
Here’s the final report on the Diggable City Project.
And here’s some more links about cities, urban planning, carbon footprints, and all the rest.
Cyurbia, an urban planning community.
Urban and Ecological Footprints.
Ecological Footprint 2.0