Huntington Urban Farm / Tim Stephens

© Tim Stephens

New Zealand architect, Tim Stephens, shared his Urban Farm design with us. The farm responds to the lack of support for the sustainable practice of growing and cultivating one’s own food source, an important issue Stephens sees as becoming more prevalent as our population increases.  The farm provides convenient access to individualized plots of land where users can produce their own food right in the middle of the town.

More images and more about the project after the break.

Site Plan © Tim Stephens

Located close to the town’s public library, church and nursery, the Urban Farm project is comprised of farmable plots of different sizes to suit individual users/small families.  ”In providing these farming plots for the community to use, the precinct will become a hub for social activity and interaction, something sorely missing in many existing communities,” explained Stephens.

© Tim Stephens

This farm is viewed as a model that can be integrated into existing communities on other sites in different townships.  Within this particular design, the farm includes winding paths and changing levels to provide a “sense of adventure and discovery as one moves through the precinct.”  Stephens sees the design as promoting social interaction, especially with its converging paths which can lead users to happen upon one another while walking through the garden.

“The Huntington Urban Farm is to pave the way for fresh thinking in terms of how communities interact with each other and how a common, productive bond can be achieved through sustainable practices,” added Stephens.

Cite: Cilento, Karen. "Huntington Urban Farm / Tim Stephens" 08 Jul 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 May 2015. <>
  • Doris Karen

    Great design! Congratulations!

    (Build a Better Burb Competition? why not on the shortlist?!)

  • StewGohr

    Wonderful visuals. Very compelling. If there’s enough seating, it could be a well loved space.

  • Helen

    What a wonderful way to offer space for food production in a high density urban environment! This design gives families living in high rise the oppotunity to connect with their community while reducing their carbon footprint and their grocery bill!

  • Helen

    What a fantastic way to offer high rise residents the opportunity to grow their own food and connect with the community!

  • nil

    Reminds me of Seattle’s Freeway Park. Not exactly defensible terrain…

  • PatrickLBC

    Thanks for sharing this project. Urban agriculture is an idea whose time has come. While some of the renderings are evocative, this particular scheme raises a few red flags for me:

    1. Look at the site plan, there is more concrete than greenery. Pretty inefficient layout.
    2. Why are the planters sloped toward the sun? Crops like flat soil; the leaves track the sun. The sloped planters make it more awkward for the people tending the crops, not to mention the extra challenges with watering, erosion, etc.
    3. For an “urban” project, the land use isn’t very intensive. Why not propose building this on an existing rooftop? Or put a parking garage underneath and a few wind turbines among the planters? Urban land is too valuable for a single use.
    4. Lack of people-friendly amenities: benches, drinking fountains, hose nozzles, trash & compost, tool storage, bike racks, restrooms, etc.
    5. As nil observed, the space is not defensible. It’s destined to become a hangout for the homeless and the bored. Skaters and taggers would have a blast with all that concrete.

    BUT… assuming these issues can be resolved in design development, this project could be really great. Cities need more sustainable community spaces. That’s my 2 cents anyway.

    • z99

      I suppose the architect was a bit out of touch with this one. I don’t mind having a unique design such as this, but try not to make it oppose the function of an urban farm!

      I might add that places with a lot of hiding spots make a great place to get assaulted. This would not be a comfortable space for women.

    • TArch

      Agreed. Especially with your second point. Sloped planters make no sense in terms of erosion and watering.

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  • Ty

    Somebody correct me if I am wrong but having done a fair amount of farming I imagine the first time there is a good rain all the precious top soil is going to spill down the slope and onto the concrete exposing the roots. Weeding would be a total nightmare.

    Sure it’s pretty and the renderings are top notch but this lacks any kind of practicality. The land use seems wildly inefficient. Why not come up with a beautiful market area and maybe make it a place for learning and outdoor classes and come up with a place for real gardening & farming to happen with water catchment, solar power, and composting.

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