Landgrab City by Joseph Grima, Jeffrey Johnson
and José Esparza

| 8 comments

As part of the Shenzhen & Hong Kong bi-city Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, Joseph Grima, Jeffrey Johnson and José Esparza have created a farm in the middle of an urban square in Shenzhen.

Called Landgrab City, the project comprises a map of a downtown area of the city displayed alongside plots of earth that represent, to the same scale, the area required to farm enough food for the people living in that area.

Each plot is represents a different food group.

See our previous stories about the biennale:

Urban Adapter by Rocker-Lange Architects
Hong Kong & Shenzhen Biennale photos
A Model City by drdharchitects
Built to Wear by Ball-Nogues Studio
Monster’s Footprint by MAD
Bug Dome by WEAK!
Bloody Haze by MAP Office
Shenzhen & Hong Kong Biennale photos
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Mésarchitectures

The biennale continues until 23 January 2010.

Here's some more information from Joseph Grima:

--

Landgrab City
Joseph Grima, Jeffrey Johnson, José Esparza

Landgrab City is an installation commissioned by the Shenzhen/Hong Kong Biennale of Architecture/Urbanism and located on Shenzhenwan Avenue (Nanshan), a busy shopping district in the city of Shenzhen.

Conceived as an experimental investigation into the full extent of Shenzhen's spatial footprint, the installation is comprised of two parts: an map of one of the city's dense downtown area, home to approximately 4.5m people, and a plot of cultivated land divided into small lots.

This land is a representation, at the same scale as the map, of the amount of territory necessary to provide the food consumed by the inhabitants of the portion of city sampled in the map, projected to 2027 (the year China is expected to overtake the US as the world's leading economy).

Each lot represents the extent of a single food group's footprint: vegetables, cereals, fruit, pasture (for livestock), and so on.

In reality, of course, these agricultural territories are not actually clustered around Shenzhen, as in the installation, but scattered across China and contiguous regions.

As China's political and economic influence grows in range and complexity, increasing proportions of these territories of agricultural production have, in fact, migrated to far-flung regions of the planet, typically in Africa, Latin America, South-East Asia and Eastern Europe.

As is the case with many other regions of the world that urbanised rapidly in recent decades (such as the four Asian Tigers, the city-states in the Persian Gulf and even certain portions of northern Africa), one of the greatest threats to future stability and growth is perceived as the volatility in food prices on the international market.

In response, agricultural land – as opposed to the food produced on that land – has itself become the target of acquisitions: wealthy nations are purchasing, more and more frequently, substantial tracts of agricultural territories in other (generally less wealthy) countries.

More often than not, this phenomenon takes the form of a post-colonial land grab that enslaves vast agricultural territories of the planet to distant, wealthy urban enclaves.

The countryside is a vital but frequently overlooked category in the contemporary discourse around spatial policy, and its role with respect to the future of urbanism is more often than not neglected.

Landgrab City is an attempt to visually represent the broader spatial identity of the 21st century metropolis; it proposes a new spatial definition of the city and thereby a more complex understanding of urbanism, one that no longer considers city limits as the boundary of its remit, but instead looks beyond – even across international borders – to the spatial, social, economic and political implications of the planet's rapid urbanization.

  • xtiaan

    interesting idea making some kind of real life conceptual connection to current eco issues
    all too often they bung a green roof on a skyscraper and have the audactity to call it “eco friendly”
    that kinda thing really gets on my tit.

  • http://marcol.ch Marcol

    About green stuff in the city you can see the Gardens of Lausanne (Switzerland) : “Lausanne Jardins”.

    http://www.lausannejardins.ch/

    It’s a lot of artistic gardens in the city of Lausanne near the Geneva Lake (Lac Léman).

  • http://www.tcdc.or.th Anunta Intra-aksorn

    this is a huge modern farm which is so inspiring!

  • http://www.vanmarcianoart.com canvas paintings

    This is quite awesome, yes I’m with you on that one xtiaan how can that possibly be eco friendly stuck miles up on a roof in the clouds. Thanks for sharing.

  • Martin

    On the flip side, its because of the rare premium of land that buildings in this oart of China are so tall.. so one could argue that this is a frivolous waste of land that would push surrounding buildings to ever-more unsustainable heights. Whereas if the garden were on a roof it would utilise relatively under-used space and encourage people to explore the full verticality of a building. Maybe.

  • http://www.balmori.com Monica Hernandez

    Jose esparza and joseph grima are genius!

    • Carmelo Grima

      Enquiry

      Is Joseph Grima of Maltese descent please?
      Grima is a common surname in Malta.

      Carmelo Grima

  • charles darwin

    micro-farms man / nature.

    micro-farming. micro-land pots.

    city-country

    man / nature. nature / can live together. let’s have more micro-farms worldwide