The studio pivots on the link between city, food and productive landscapes. Today, as large numbers of people live in cities depending on the supply of food from far away areas the link to food is invariably extensive and invisible and the spatial connection to food is more relevant than ever.
Further, cities in India have seen unprecedented development in the last 10 years and a large influx of people from rural areas. The ecological infrastructure and environment in most cities are stressed or already severely damaged. To be specific, large areas of farmlands have been replaced, significant areas of forests cleared, pollution levels in cities have risen, and rivers and lakes are drying or are heavily polluted. The needs and lifestyles of our growing society put huge stress on environmental systems and natural cycles. These challenges compounded with climate change are an urgent one.
There has been a growing interest in different cities around the world to reshape our environment from the lens of food and ecology and yet planners and designers are often inadequately equipped to integrate food system thinking into future plans for cities. Thus, the studio invited students to conceive and generate innovative ideas of productive public realm centred around the themes of improved agricultural productivity, enhancement of biodiversity, and ecologically sensitive urban designs. These themes of ‘productivity’ should be dynamic to changes, coherently integrated within the open space network, and eventually absorbed as a part of the urban grain in an existing context.