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Inventing Novel Agricultural Urbanism
Fayetteville 2030: Food City Scenario

By Tatyana Brown, Manager, Public Policy

The AIA’s Decade of Design is a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to improve public health and promote the effective use of natural, economic, and human resources through the power of design. In 2012 the AIA awarded $40,000 in university grants to three architecture programs. Among these, a $15,000 grant to the University of Arkansas Community Design Center (UACDC) will support Fayetteville 2030: Food City Scenario, a novel agricultural urbanism model that will enable more robust decision-making about the future of our cities.

UACDC’s research is positioning the next generation of architects for leadership at a time when environmental challenges call on designers’ unique capacity for delivering integrated solutions. By 2030 Fayetteville, Arkansas will double in population within the city’s boundaries, which echoes the increasing urbanization of many American communities. Conventional municipal planning relies on consensus and charrette‐based processes, short-term methods that cannot anticipate disruptive events. UACDC is engaged in scenario-based planning that begins with a particular driver, “What if Fayetteville’s new development enabled the city to sustain its food budget through an urban agricultural network?”

“How might a local ‘food-shed’ become an ecological utility distributed throughout urban land uses, with green infrastructure and neighborhoods, public growscapes, and building typologies related to animal husbandry, food processing, distribution, and marketing,” asks Stephen Luoni, Assoc. AIA, Director of UACDC and Distinguished Professor in the Fay Jones School of Architecture. “The project is intended to establish agricultural urbanism as a normative real estate product.” As part of the initiative, fifth‐year architecture students working with UACDC staff are preparing neighborhood plans within an urban agricultural framework that presupposes walkable, transit-oriented neighborhoods.

“The goal is to visualize unconsidered possibilities for formatting urban and agricultural fabrics and produce a best-practice manual that is easily transferable to other communities by July 2013,” says Jeffrey Huber, AIA, Assistant Director of UACDC and Adjunct Assistant Professor. UACDC’s research triangulates design visioning, interdisciplinary thinking, and communication of complex concepts to the general and non‐professional design audiences. Along with its nonprofit partners Feed Fayetteville, the University’s Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department, the Food Law Program, and Food Sciences Department, UACDC is advocating for more robust planning that will help create resilient cities.

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