by Harsh Shah
The activities of the urban Settlers have always had a major impact on the climate change factors. In parallel, global climate change and its potential consequences for life expectancy and mortality has now been accepted as the major challenge for the humankind in the next 10 years. Growing population, are creating undermanned stress on the current resources making it difficult to maintain the equilibrium between the demand and supply within a city. The cities should now be valued by the reliability of their own sustenance, which is how we can balance our existence with nature. Hence, a city can only sustain if it can keep food in tandem with its overall growth and development.
Gandhinagar being a potential hub in the next 10 years will grow in all dimensions possible, making it a complex issue of sustenance. To match its growing needs within the ecological limits, Foodista central envisions Gandhinagar to grow locally with sustainable goals. Embracing with a new identity of the city, Foodista Central will emerge as a vibrant public space with edible landscapes celebrating food by cultivating, collecting and consuming within the heart of the city. It will allow people to process food through edible and productive landscapes where people can dine in-between grow patches. Hence, the project envisions an integration within urban farming and edible landscapes, resulting in an interactive playful and socially engaging experience with food being at its epi-centre.
Foodista central envisions celebrating food at the center of the city. The project tries creating a total food scene at a city level public space that integrates food production, harvesting, and consumption by bringing food to the city centre.
In a world that is dominated by processed foods, I believe a city should be equipped with producing at least a certain percentage of its food requirements with its available public open spaces for a more healthy and a sustainable living.
Hence, the premise of the project is to use landscape and exterior programs as a catalyst for urban productive development. The main hypothesis is to reimagine the central vista public space into a playful, socially engaging with a sound space for productive landscapes.
The vision of the masterplan is to connect people to food by making production visible within the city realm. This is achieved by creating a food centric landscape environment in the middle of the city where food is being grown, consumed and celebrated.
Furthermore, this demonstration of grow areas within the central vista encourage knowledge exchange. Now a citizen can learn the know-hows of food production and test in residential areas helping them build a self-sustainable neighbourhood. With every sector designed with its own programmatic units, the food grown locally can be harvested and conserved in their own processing units for a environmental friendly living.
So at city scale the strategy looks at having the central space of every sector (area based on the population of each sector) to be allotted for urban agriculture and its facilities for the people of that particular sector. The space is segregated into various functions and allotments for people to be able to grow their own food and conserve it for future use. This intends to not only aim at a self-sustainable sector but also be climatically efficient.
The catalogue on shows the attributes of the masterplan on what all is required for a self sustainable sector and for a smooth process for food to reach at every household in the required quantities. Different processing units such as packaging, storing, transporting etc. have been proposed for a seamless flow in the entire food chain.
The evolution till the final iteration of Foodista Central started of with a basic geometry shape ‘Circle’ which aimed at creating a seamless fluidic landscape across the central vista connecting to major landmarks of the city. The circles then merged to form a continuous green corridor with urban forests, grow areas, water feature and architectural features, which tried playing with exceptional user experiences with productive landscape at its core. The space has various entry points, plaza areas displaying, and consuming food with intricately showing the entire process for food to reach the table right from the farms. The architectural features also revolve around how can food be sensitized and made sustainably available in public spaces that can be productive.
Embracing with a new identity for the city, the vista emerges with the concept of a free flowing landscape form creating vibrant public spaces with edible landscapes that attract various functions and activities across user groups. The site plan depicts the geometry of the spaces and how different functions are strategically placed to respond to the edge and the grow patches.
Expanding on the productive theme, the grow areas are supplemented with urban forest corridor that stiches up the central vista and provides means of food and shelter for other urban fauna.
The site is divided by four experiential plazas, which create hotspots for different functions and experiences for daily and occasional users. The tallest being a viewing deck that creates a vertical circulation and interaction to the entire site which are followed by conservatories, community and farmers market which commercializes the food grown on the central vista ending at the trade center opposite the Vidhaan Sabha with exclusive place making with large spaces for various activities over the space.
The entire space is built of three large land difference, one being designated walkways, the other being the halt while transiting, i.e. the grande plazas and the third and the maximum ground cover is the natural cover which is the soft scape that is of soil and other earth materials. The fluidic landscape tries to revive the nature and agricultural identity of a place where agriculture and social uses intersect. The space that is designated as a public space holds on to that character strongly but also adds to a third dimension of creating environmental friendly aspects of climate enhancing nature where food can be grown, seen, taught, consumed, and traded at the very same place. The different typologies of spaces marked above are trying to depict the quality of space, which can be seen at various points across the vista with spatial changes. Every activity here generates some amount of value to either the people around or the surrounding for achieving utmost sustenance.
Following the entire space, the space catalogue shows various conditions of spaces at different junctions and the modulation of spaces at locational conditions. The main intent here is to show different experiential aspects, which are the highlights of the vista, which connect people to its food and its edible landscapes.
Surrounded by food, the chart shows food that can be grown according to different seasons, which can be the best for that particular season also in relation to the demand. This also educates its space users with signboards of what all options are available that can be grown during certain times particularly.
The view shows people sitting in the centre of the grow patches doing their daily chores and enjoying edible landscape as their view. The plaza and the entry points also allow a huge flow of passer-by to move across the edges and help eye on street function for children playing the plaza area for maximizing safety.
This view shows how the conservatories react to the plaza ahead and how it attracts various human activities. The cafeteria outside the conservatory serves food that is grown with hybrid crops that are experimented and grown within them. People can view them while eating outside in the café.
Everything grown around needs to be traded as well for the economic cycle to function. The commercial retail space have food stores on its grade level with eateries and restaurants that provides seating space on the plaza as well as on its roof top.
The section shows the varied ground conditions and the height to width ratio along the central vista edge for a better understanding of the quality of space. It also shows the largest attractor point, the food convention centre, which has an underground facility and an over ground green turf. People can access both above and below the space making it a multi-usable space opposite the landmark building of Vidhaan Sabha. This space gives a clear view to the central vista as well as the Vidhaan sabha making it an iconic spot.
Gradually Foodista central will not only confine itself to the central space but will take over more of the city reaching the river alongside Gandhinagar. It will allow and provide more opportunities to local suppliers to meet growing demands and help Gandhinagar self sustainable in terms of its food requirements and make it a food heaven.