Much of the dialogue surrounding the future of agriculture laments farming’s aging demographic. But SPARK, a global architectural firm, has proposed a “living and farming typology” that marries innovative growing initiatives with the over-55 set.
Imagine a massive Pacific Rim hydroponics facility for urban retirees. Renderings depict an oval, many-leveled living facility with elders chatting amongst green-lined verandas. Residents can also garden for salary within the ground-floor grounds and, as the renderings would have it, fly kites.
The corn-in-the-sky proposal addresses two pressing needs in Singapore, the firm’s proposed entry point. First, the country’s aging population, combined with a shift in familial model (i.e. fewer intergenerational households), will soon create an additional need for senior housing. Already in Japan, more than 20 percent of the populace is over 65 years of age (or as SPARK’s website puts it, adult diapers outsell baby diapers by 50 percent.)
Secondly, Singapore is enormously export-dependent when it comes to its food: according to Food Export USA, in 2012 the country imported more than $12 billion worth of produce, fish, and forestry products, or about 90 percent of its foodstuffs. (Little wonder that vertical housing has been proposed, and implemented prior.)
“The concept is a realizable solution to real and pressing problems faced by many of the world’s growing cities,” SPARK Director Stephen Pimble told Arch Daily. The site also informs us that Singapore is “one of just seven fully urbanized places ”“ a city state without a hinterland.” Oh, and? There’s tilapia farming involved.
There’s no initial red-tape resistance: The country established its Ministerial Committee on Aging (MCA) in 2007 to address to growing-older populace. Called “Successful Aging,”it advocates active and affordable aging models.
So how to apply? Alas, the proposal is purely conceptual and possibly aspirational at this point. So keep your relatives’ minds open and their passports valid.
Top: Courtesy Reuters.