Urbanism & Food

The relation between architecture and food

Cultural identity, social cohesion, human health, intergenerational relationships, and agency are all shaped by an invisible and deeply intimate element in our daily lives: food.

The design profession often overlooks the influence of our food systems in the approach to the built environment, despite their significant impact on our daily lives.

Building upon our existing approach to sustainability and regeneration, we have developed a new strategy inspired by alternative methods found in the field of ecology. Here food systems provide a holistic and inexpensive approach to redesigning our cities and communities, centered upon collaboration and community. We invite you to join.

Food Copenhagen Midjourney Render Food Gardens

Growing, harvesting, preparing, and consuming food together are human universals dating back to the Neolithic. Today, our current food systems are a major cause of ill-health, social inequality, and environmental damage. Currently, cities are a site of metabolic exchange. We import the food we eat yet export our large amounts of residual waste.

However, the way we plan our cities, produce, and consume food seems to be left out of the architectural conversation, leaving architects, designers, and urbanists alike to play a fundamental role in this challenge. This dichotomy raises a series of questions for how we as architects, designers, and urbanists can reimagine our cities as environmentally responsible food systems.

We see food as the catalyst to revert these trends.

Cities are no longer just a site for consumption but a place to create synergies between existing environments - an opportunity to look beyond our own expertise and collaborate with others.

Case Studies

Vridsloeselille Diagrams Axo02 Urban transformation

Vridsløselille - integrated food systems

How does one live up to the municipality's ambitions of creating strong communities centered around sustainable and green cities?

Strong municipality ambitions of creating communities centered on sustainable and green cities informed the design of Vridsløselille - a small community that consists of a network of five different enclaves, each with its own unique defining character.

One of them, Grobyen, was strategically designed to facilitate local food production that could feed the neighborhood while enhancing social cohesion that also encourage intergenerational relationship building.

Grow gardens have been strategically placed between buildings and inform the identity of the neighborhood. Small farms, greenhouses, and community kitchens are placed throughout as an active environment for hands-on engagement for learning and community development.

Cooking community

Høje Gladsaxe - Intergenerational connections

How can we rethink the ‘neighbourhood for generations,’ inviting people of different ages to live together and share their skills and time?

Our recent research and findings from our publication “The Hacktivist Guide to Food Security,” informed a rich opportunity to leverage our specific knowledge of food systems to develop a strategic and integrative approach for the Høje Gladsaxe community. Our strategy used food to facilitate greater social cohesion and intergenerational relationships within the local neighborhood. 

Through methods of community visioning workshops, demographic mapping, and site-specific community engagement activities, existing local food initiatives, municipalities, residents, and leading members of the community came together to explore the nuances and traditions of the diverse community. Resulting in a holistic design solution that is culturally relevant while prompting opportunities for active hands-on engagement and cross-pollination amount different age groups.

Learn more about our winning proposal "Feed-Back," developed for the Landsbyggefonden's idea competition at neighborhoodsforgenerations.com and visit our video about the project here.

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Detroit Monroe Blocks

How can both the existing and new communities anchored around food be given room to flourish?

Grassroot food initiatives on the existing empty site were revealed in our spatial and strategic analysis and inspired the approach to the urban plan and revitalization of the new neighborhood.

To draw connections and establish identity, the central street of the neighborhood was named “Farmer Street,” and was closed off from cars, giving room to the local grass root organizations and small business to continue to grow, bleeding their initiatives into the new plan of the city, thus giving more room for food trucks.

As a strategy to create identity for the new neighborhood while maintaining cultural and historic integrity from the existing neighborhood, the old National Theatre building archway was repurposed, integrated, and placed as the gateway entrance to Farmer Street.

Talks - The future of food in architecture

To explore creativity in change-making, we have partnered up with Roskilde Festival and Bloxhub on a number of exciting events throughout the summer to develop a unique knowledge base, combining practical research with the conceptual capacities of art, architecture, and community vision - resulting in the launch of our soon to come publication: The Hacktivist Guide to Food Security. 

 In a shared affinity to form a new relationship with food, Roskilde Festival and Schmidt Hammer Lassen's collaboration explores:  What happens when we look critically at our own lives through the lens of food? What effect could this have on the design of our cities and what role does activism play in architecture, art, and culture? 

Check out our entire food programme of events, workshops and talks here