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Beyond Urban Agriculture

Leading experts in research, industry, policy, and design highlight and discuss opportunities and challenges of building-integrated vegetation for food production and the potential for additional urban ecosystem services.


Urban Farming in Quezon City
Joy Belemonte
Quezon City
Kotchakorn Voraakhom
Bringing nature to cities
Marion Waller
City of Paris
Building Integrated Vegetation
Anna Dyson
Yale University
Designing for a resilient planet based on the science of ecology
Dr. Ken Yeang
Hamzah and Yeang Architects
High-Rise Vegetation
Stefano Boeri
Stefano Boeri Architects

What is Integrated Green Infrastructure?

Stories of Building-Integrated Vegetation

Esau Galukande
Kampala City
World Food Program
NASA’s interests for recycling water, nutrients and energy efficiency in space agriculture
Dr. Raymond M Wheeler
Challenges for the incorporation of food production into functional urban greening systems
Dr. Fraser R Torpy
University of Technology, Sydney
Cities Alive: Green Building Envelopes
Rudi Scheuermann
Urban Farming is Not the Answer (and We Need More Urban Farming)
Mark Bomford
Yale University

Benefits for Sustainable and Resilient Food Systems

Exploring the Science of Co-benefits of building-integrated vegetation for cities, health, life quality

Food and the City: Feed your imagination
Eike Sindlinger
Growing Better Food & Futures:
Leveraging UrbanAg to Deliver Conscious Capitalism
Nona Yehia
Vertical Harvest
Jason Vollen
Building-Integrated Agriculture in urban contexts: Methodological contributions to sustainability assessment.

Khadija Benis
MIT Sustainable Design Lab / Urban Food Prints

Opportunities and Challenges for Widespread Adoption of Green Infrastructure

Dr. Ahu Aydogan 
Associate Professor,  
Eike Sindlinger
Lead for Food and Agriculture, ARUP
Mark Bomford 
Director, Yale Sustainable Food Program
Dr. Raymond Wheeler 
Lead Plant Physiologist,
Moderated by:
Anna Dyson, Director Yale Center for Ecosystems + Architecture (CEA)
Christina Ciardullo, Senior Architect, Researcher Yale CEA
From it's technological foundations through imagery of phenomenal green skyscrapers, our speakers take a critical look at the aspirations, the potential, and the scientific futures of building-integrated urban agriculture. 

Beyond Urban Agriculture

Panel Discussion: Series 2

Listen to Panel Discussion Series 2
Listen to Panel Discussion Series 1

Beyond Urban Agriculture

Panel Discussion: Series 1

Dr. Fraser R Torpy 
Director, Plants and Environmental Quality Research Group, UTS
Rudi Scheuermann 
Director and Global Leader Building Envelope Design, ARUP
Nona Yehia 
Co-founder / CEO, Vertical Harvest
Dr. Jason Vollen 
Global Lead for Research Development + Innovation,  AECOM
Moderated by:
Anna Dyson, Director Yale Center for Ecosystems + Architecture (CEA)
Christina Ciardullo, Senior Architect, Researcher Yale CEA
When we examine the role of plants in the built environment from multiple perspectives, from both research and industry, we start to see how many possible applications there are, and how each instance of growing plants in and on buildings provides multiple simultaneous opportunities. 
For an innovative commercial vertical farm, reducing stresses on water and land use with a vertical farm is coupled with opportunities for underserved communities and coincident with improved nutrition for the health and well-being of the local community. For indoor environments, plants are employed for their potential to simultaneously improve indoor air quality while reducing building energy consumption profiles. Green facade and green roof applications promise to reduce building energy needs, cool hot urban temperatures, and reclaim biodiversity for urban environments. 
There are ways that each of these solutions come into being - economic models that support a vertical farm, or stakeholders that are interested in indoor air quality or biodiversity. And while each instance is multi-performative in and of themselves, how far can we go to integrate across each of these models? 
Can we combine vertical farming with indoor air quality? First glance suggests that while vertical farms use high amounts of carbon dioxide to increase plant productivity this might be incompatible with desires for indoor air quality where plants are used to reduce CO2 levels. Can we eat plants that have been used to metabolize toxins in the air? Our panelists suggests that indoor plants may be exposed to less harmful compounds than outdoor plants which may be exposed to heavy metals. Further testing is required to couple these functions.
How can we move building integrated vegetation from more niche markets to widespread adoption? Maintenance and costs are an issue. While economic models for vertical urban farms may be making headway, they may serve as an economic model for servicing plants in buildings where plants need to be maintained. Still others on our panel suggest that, at least in outdoor applications, maintenance and technology are not the answer, and that we should have the patience to allow natural ecosystemic processes to establish themselves to create a self-sustaining urban vegetation system.
There is much to be done, but the first steps are being taken to bring together the many diverse voices of those working to integrate plants and vegetation into our urban landscape. In conversation we hope to find the potential for overlaps and co-creation.
Listen to Panel Discussion Series 2
Listen to Panel Discussion Series 1


What is building integrated Urban Green Infrastructure? 
Explore stories from people who are transforming buildings by using plants
What kinds of
benefits can you
see from integrated
vegetation in
buildings and
How can we leverage synergies,
between green
infrastructure for
food and green
infrastructure other uses in cities? 
What needs to change to introduce more vegetation into our cities and buildings?
In exploring multiple potential value propositions for green infrastructure, can we move building-integrated green infrastructure from niche markets into distributed solutions addressing multiple built environment impacts from energy to land use patterns? 
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