Alexandros Avlonitis’s proposal for the in 2008 is a program for an urban market in the neighborhood of Castle Hill in The Bronx, NYC. The “What We Are Is What We Eat” project responds to the growing population that is migrating from rural areas to urbanized cities. This population shift, which is estimated to reach 80% in 50 years, challenges the norms of food production world-wide.
With a smaller population directly responsible for agriculture, food production is becoming more industrialized with an added burden of the transportation necessary to keep it fresh. What Avlonitis’s design proposal addresses is the creation of a communal and collective food culture in an urban setting where people cannot afford organic and nutritious goods.
Read on after the break for more information and images about this project.
The proposal sets out to create food communities, and build a resistance to junk food habits, malnutrition and the loss of food culture. The architectural proposal aims to create a landscape that, while respecting the existing qualities and spatial circumstances of the site. The enclosures are designed with cheap, reusable and easily adaptable construction, such as scaffolding and shipping containers, all of which are flexible enough to function in each of the three zones laid out by the proposal.
The concept begins with a ground manipulation of the existing patches on the site, developing carpets in these areas that will be turned into gardens with workable land for crop production and distribution. By first making the land arable, the urban environment can be transformed into a rural and agricultural zone. Zone 1 of the proposal is an area that has all of the infrastructure and commercial functions of the proposal, varying from local produce and flower markets to food festivals, cooking seminars and other community activities that engage and support the neighborhood.
Zone 2 of the proposal is a public orchard. This tree park is a place of gathering and socializing, as well as learning, where crops can be gathered for the market. Zone 3 is the farm zone, where the workable patches and arable land is available for local farmers to grow and eventually sell their crops.
Not just a community garden, the proposal is an agriculturally developed farm park where users are reunited with where their food comes from and can redevelop an appreciation for their nutrition and the land.