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2008 National Urban Design Awards

Urban Fragments

Making the Edible Campus (Montreal, QC)
 

Lead Firms: Minimum Cost Housing Group, McGill University School of Architecture. Full credits.

Cities, where more than half the humanity now lives, are pivotal in reducing the global warming, which need both design solutions and concerted social action. According to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (2006), up to half of Canada's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (350 million tonnes) are under the control or influence of municipal governments, hence in the context of urban environmental degradation and increasing food insecurity, both in quality and quantity, greening of the cities can play an important role. Greening of cities cannot be left solely in hands of local authorities, their resources are stretched beyond limit and any added responsibility will raise their operating and recurring expenses, requiring higher taxes, which are not welcome by ordinary citizens. To overcome this impasse, for last five years, our team has been seeking innovative ways, social, institutional and technological, to valorize the greening of the city by fostering participatory cultivating "Edible Landscapes" in cities.


Jury Comments:

The Edible Campus project implements an innovative and intriguing landscape concept, in order both to improve the university’s communal spaces and to help ameliorate the appearance of its 1960s concrete architecture with a seasonal counterpoint of urban greenery as food source.

Amongst the interesting “fragments” submitted from across the country, the jury appreciated the social foundations and community/volunteer involvement as well as the sustainable urban objectives of this scheme. With simple, direct layouts it aims to employ underused corners and spaces within the public realm to grow produce linked to a food collection and meal delivery system, creating a sustainable prototype that could potentially be expanded to other university campuses and across the city. The jury noted that more could have been done to address the winter-time use and experience of the affected areas, possibly through a broader and longer term range of seasonal planting.


Click on an image to enlarge


photo: Ismael Hautecoeur

photo: Ismael Hautecoeur

photo: Ismael Hautecoeur

photo: Ismael Hautecoeur

image: Sally Diaz, Aba Simps

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