The latest trend in real estate combines urban development with agriculture. Real estate developers are joining forces with small-scale growers to appeal to the trendy homebuyer.
Many urban developments are featuring vertical farming projects, in which agriculture is conducted in a way that minimizes space by expanding upwards rather than outwards.
Another popular technique is rooftop farming, where a garden is run on the rooftop of a building.
Meanwhile, food activists like what they are seeing. They view the innovative techniques from luxury developers as a support to their goal of sustainable farming.
Building advisor Henry Gordon-Smith says that he receives as many as ten calls every week from builders and architects who want to learn more about such technologies. Many callers are actively seeking experienced urban growers.
Gordon-Smith says, “The building has to be productive. All of that creates better occupants, and better citizens. Food is the next frontier in this.”
Many people with urban farming businesses want to stress the value of producing agricultural products in an urban area. They say it is good for the environment, and it adds value to any property.
CEO of Green City Growers Jessie Banhazl says, “It’s really important that developers understand the value of this, and that they can provide amenities and lots of value to their property by having a rooftop farm. There’s so many different applications where the tenants would value having food growing on the property.”
There are many different types of establishments that are utilizing these innovative methods of agriculture. In addition to residences, other places such as gyms, lounges, clubs and technology companies are all participating in urban agriculture.
Apartment complexes are particularly popular for the techniques, as they allow residents to maintain their own rooftop garden when space is limited.
Progressive cities such as Seattle, Boston and New York have all been major proponents of urban agriculture, opening the door for others cities to follow suit. Representatives from the cities say that younger residents are huge supporters of the trend, as many millennials consider environmental sustainability to be a major component of their values and ethics.
Urban developers are also particularly fond of the trend for the simple fact that it gives buildings more character. Building residents and city-goers alike say that they like the visual appeal that is offered from urban agriculture.
However, the trend does have some critics. Some people are complaining that urban gardening is only available to those who are able to afford it. Not every resident of an apartment complex can be granted gardening space on the rooftop of the building.
Others are fearful that the novelty of urban farming will wear off, and the produce will go to rot once those tending to the garden get tired of their project.
While some people are calling urban agriculture a mere fad, others believe that this is the way of the future. At the very least, it allows a developed city to produce something usually only found at farms or in nature.