Course Overview:
The focus of the first studio session is to design, in detail, a potential rooftop urban agriculture system, working with the opportunities and constraints of a specific site and client. Through the development of each design, students will understand and apply techniques of construction and implementation, gaining valuable experience of the practical aspects of urban agriculture and green-roof design. The second session gives students the opportunity to work physically in the field using a series of hands-on modules with prominent NYC practitioners to explore the many components of urban agriculture, building on the material presented in the first session.

Learning Objectives:
To understand the complexities of rooftop urban agriculture, within the particulars of New York City and the current urban agriculture discourse. To gain a thorough understanding of the practicalities of urban agriculture and examine the multiple benefits (economic, environmental and social) ascribed to it. Urban agriculture extends far beyond the metrics of agricultural production and has the potential to generate innovative methods to reverse decades of environmental injustice and degradation.


The Bowery Mission community rooftop

Matt Krivich has presented his vision for the rooftop in detail during the first class; to recap the essentials: the roof will be a place to grow food for the on-site kitchen, a place for the clients of the mission to have agency in relation to their food [as many of them suffer from chronic food insecurity], while also being a place for reflection.  He also expressed interest in a commercial venture, a ‘bowery mission salsa’.  

The farm
While the additional rooftop options [you will chose only one] are not currently connected to the Bowery Mission, you will explore one as a companion roof farm. We will not be able to visit the additional site, but you will be provided information for site analysis and design.  As short-hand to determine which companion site is more appropriate for your system, the Sunset Park site is suitable for giving primacy to large scale commercial activity, and the Bushwick site is suitable for a more neighborhood focus, with public transit and bike connection to the Mission. [Admittedly, this is a very simplistic read on the two sites!]

Program : the minimum elements that need to be addressed in the design and planning.  You are encouraged to propose additional programmatic pieces.
§         plant selection
§         soil selection [type of soil medium, weight, density appropriate for site conditions, and growing media]
§         rooftop construction strategy
§         bed/planter layout
§         paths for people
§         areas for gathering/rest/education  [shade for people if necessary]
§         water access, rain water harvesting
§         harvesting area and production areas
§         storm water and other environmental performance strategies
In addition to the physical aspects of the design, a phasing strategy and a social framework will be defined.  We will discuss the framework in further detail, but will include the economics, management, maintenance, monitoring, building ecology, social service aspects, and stewardship of the rooftop, etc.. Students will create a long-term plan that outlines the above in relationship to their design intentions.