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NASA India

Gsen Competition 2020-21- Edible Landscape for the public realm

Edible Landscape for the public realm

The competition participants to conceive and generate innovative ideas of a productive public realm centred around improved agricultural productivity, enhancement of biodiversity, and ecologically sensitive urban designs in the city’s grain. The competition questions our penchant for crisp, ornamental, and high-maintenance landscapes as an ideal leisure ground for a public space. The challenge is integrating food into public space design, and building utilitarian landscapes as a part of everyday landscapes. The competition looks for radical and innovative ways food and productive landscapes can be integrated into the public realm of the city fabric.  

Edible Landscape for the public realm
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. Further, 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.Moreover, the concern over food security and interest in healthier diets, local food is already driving the transformation at a local level. Urban revitalisation projects around the world are rewriting new rules to develop resilient landscapes to integrate food and beyond.Thus, the competition invites you 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 in the grain of the city. The competition further questions our penchant for crisp, ornamental, and high maintenance landscape as an ideal leisure ground for a public space. The challenge will be on how carefully can we integrate food into the design of public space so that we accept this utilitarian landscape as a part of everyday landscape.The competition looks for radical and innovative ways food and productive landscapes can be integrated into the public realm of city fabric.  


What we mean by productive and edible landscapes
This competition is a two-way journey to reimagine solutions as they can possibly be. The first one will take us backwards towards the roots of the issues we’re trying to address in a bid to understand what the original intent was and the second one travels from those insights in the opposite direction towards now, building upon that understanding, a design solution that has remained true to its intent and not having succumbed to various other powerful seductive forces along the way.


Why thinking about food is important
Loss/degradation of farmlands – As per UN, 40.76% of India’s population is expected to reside in urban areas by 2030. We have to acknowledge the fact that the growth of these cities comes at the expense of disappearing prime agricultural land. As agricultural farmlands are taken over by ever expanding cities, farmers are forced to grow on marginalised, less fertile land and have to rely on fertiliser for increasing yield. This over dependency on artificial fertiliser leads to further land degradation, lowering the yield even more. This cyclical problem often forces the farmers to migrate to cities for better opportunity. UN says India needs to restore at least 30 million hectares in the next 10 years to reverse land degradation by 2030. Hence, as designers of built environment, it is very important to start thinking about edible landscapes stitched into the city fabric.


Detached food system
The global pandemic has exposed our immense reliance on just-in-time logistics and remote food supplies with disrupted long supply chains. Since these complex long chains are susceptible to shocks, in a post-pandemic world, can we design a resilient food system, where we can rely on a local productive system? This is not only to be seen in relation to food but as a means of building resilience – preparing for future predictable shocks, whereby ecological and productive landscape would ameliorate the effect.


Food beyond human
With loss of bio-diversity, cities are increasingly becoming monocultures of human dominated spaces. Further, our love for manicured landscapes as leisure grounds, is creating an urban desert. By integrating a biodiverse landscape system, we can design a public realm that caters to the food demand of other urban fauna, hence restoring the urban biodiversity.


Site and themes
To demonstrate the idea of food and productivity:Teams can choose a real or hypothetical neighbourhood in a city. This chosen or imagined site should be small (upto 1-2 sq km), medium density, and very much within the city limit. For hypothetical designs, selected neighbourhood should not be imagined on a new greenfield site (so it should already have a grain of built and open). The chosen area, type, and the mix of land uses in the chosen site is not very critical as long as you are able to represent and show ways in which the concept of productivity can be integrated in the real or imagined neighbourhood.Each team could work on a particular theme or more and develop ideas into a real spatial design solution. The themes such as increasing biodiversity, backyard food growing systems, edible food park, productive street corridor, urban agro-forest, vertical farming, innovative models of food processing and distribution etc. can be visualised and communicated through urban and architectural drawings.The competition is interested in how to materialise concepts into implementable strategies over time and will emphasize again on visualisation of the project to communicate.


Submission requirements

  • The project should be expressed within TWO (2) A1 size sheets.
    Sheet 1: Should contain- plan, concept, details of the project and short text (up to 200 words) to explain the project
    Sheet 2: Compelling strong views that showcase the entire project (2-3 views)
  • The project visuals should be expressed in 5 to 6 Digital Postcards of 210MM X 210 MM (square) with little or no text (limit to one line for explaining the visual).


Judgement Criteria 

  • Innovative ideas in productive theme/s in a given neighbourhood and its communication through representation in real and hypothetical cases.
  • Clarity on how the project excels in integrating daily human and recreational activities in the productive and edible landscape.
  • Design positions able to translate the ideas into clear spatial strategies that are visible in plans, sections and 3d views.
  • Overall visualisation and communication of the project.


Prize money
Prize money of Two lakh Rupees is allotted to the trophy and it will be divided according to the number of the Citations and Special Mentions.


Important dates 

  • Release of Brief: 9th August 2020, Friday
  • Registration Deadline: 2nd December 2020 1800 hours, Wednesday
  • Queries Deadline: 9th December 2020 1800 hours, Wednesday
  • Submission Deadline: 13th January 2021 1800 hours, Wednesday


General Submission Guidelines
Failing to comply with any of the guidelines may lead to disqualification at the discretion of the executive council.

  • All text should be in English.
  • The projects should use the decimal metric system and contain a metric graphic scale in order to enable publication in reduced formats.
  • The format of the sheets should clearly mention the name of the trophy followed by the year i.e. “GSEN Trophy 2020-21
  • The format of the sheet should contain a square box of 25mm*25mm at the bottom right hand corner, next to the NASA INDIA logo which should have the unique registration number allotted to the participants after registrations.
  • 10MM White margin is to be left on all sides of A1 sheets.
  • The scale is left to the discretion of the participant(s) to the condition that the scale should be in metric system and all the drawings should be clear and legible.
  • Manually rendered entry should be scanned at least in 300*300dpi (dots per Inch) resolution.
  • The soft copy (non-editable format) of the sheets along with authentication letter, declaration letter and any other required documents prescribed in the submission requirements should be uploaded on the website by the submission deadline.
  • The soft copy file of the sheets should not be corrupted or incomplete or in low resolution.
  • It is mandatory to produce the original copy of the Authentication Letter for each entry(entry code should be mentioned if allotted) with the name of participant(s) and stating the unit will abide by whatever may be the final results and also agree that this entry is a property of both the institute and NASA India.
  • The Authentication Letter should be signed by the Appointed Unit Secretary of the college for the year 2020-21 on behalf of the HOD/Principal/Director in lieu of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • It is mandatory for the colleges to produce the original copy of the Declaration Letter for each entry(entry code should be mentioned if allotted) signed by the participants stating the work submitted is genuine and they have endorsed copy- rights for the same and to adhere by all the rules and regulations, jury process and the results.
  • The Prize Money Authenticating Letter signed by the Director/ Principal / HOD in the college letter-head specifying the account details ( Account Name, Account Number, Bank Name, IFSC Code) in which the money is to be credited for each entry (entry code should be mentioned if allotted) shall be collected at a later stage.
  • The working files in editable formats of the Shortlisted Entries should be submitted to the Council, failing which, the submission requirements would be deemed incomplete leading to the prize money being withheld.
  • Shortlisted Entries with manual hand-done sheets should submit high quality scans(min. 300*300 dpi) along with the content in a word document of the shortlisted entries should be submitted to the Council, failing which, the submission requirements would be deemed incomplete leading to the prize money being withheld.
  • Any misconduct such as exposing identity through college namestamp participant(s) name or college code on the sheets or the video will be disqualified.


Nasa India Logo Guidelines
Failing to comply with any of the guidelines may lead to disqualification at the discretion of the executive council.

  • NASA India Internal Logo shall always be placed on the right-hand bottom corner of the sheet.
  • NASA India logo should not be merged, overlapped etc. with any sort of text, graphic, image, etc.
  • NASA India logo should be in true black with a perfectly white background.
  • The logos are available at


Checklist for submission 

  1. Online Submission
  2. Original Copy of Authentication Letter
  3. Original Copy of Declaration Letter
  4. Editable Format of the Sheets (Applicable if shortlisted)


Other information

  • Maximum One (01) Number of Entries Will Be Accepted Per College.
  • Queries can be put forward through the trophy page on the website (
  • Registration should be done by the Unit secretary in NASA India website before the registration deadline.
  • Registration of the trophies will be final and cannot be changed or withdrawn henceforth.
  • All the entries should be uploaded separately during the time of online submission.
  • Late Registration and submission will not be entertained and henceforth the defaulters shall be disqualified.


Moderator and Authors
The Moderator for GSEN Trophy for 2020-21 is Mansi Shah (Adjunct Professor, Urban Design, CEPT University) and the brief is co-authored with Chandrani Chakrabarti (Program Coordinator, Landscape Architecture, CEPT University).Any form of communication from the participants to the Moderator/Authors/Jurors will lead to disqualification. 


Annexure 1: References

  • Ecological Urbanism: A framework for the design of resilient cities, Resilience in ecology and Urban Design, 2011
  • Steel C., “Hungry city: how food shapes our lives”, Vintage London, 2009
  • Smit J., “Urban Agriculture: Food, jobs, and sustainable cities”. The urban agriculture Network, Inc., 2001
  • Belanger, Pierre. “Landscape infrastructure: Urbanism beyond engineering”. 2011
  • Miyawaki, A. Restoration of urban green environments based on the theories of vegetation ecology, Ecological Engineering, Vol 11, Issues 1-4, 157-165, 1998
  • Benke, K., Tomkins, B., Future food-production systems: vertical farming and controlled-environment agriculture, Sustainability: Science, Practice and Policy, 13:1,
  • 13-26, 2017
  • CJ Lim, Ed Liu, Smartcities, Resilient Landscapes and Eco-Warriors, Routledge; 2 edition, 2019
  • CJ Lim, Food City, Routledge; 2014
  • Ruth DeFries, The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis, Basic Books. 2014
  • Mason White, Maya Przybylski, On Farming: Bracket 1, Actar, 2010)