Contract - Process: Celebrating the Connection between Urban and Rural

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Process: Celebrating the Connection between Urban and Rural

24 June, 2009

-By Hans Baldauf, Baldauf Catton Von Eckartsberg Architects


In 2008, the world passed a watershed point—more people now live in cities than not. How we make these cities and how they relate to the rest of the world will be critical to the survival of the planet. As history demonstrates, cities have the potential of being very efficient organizations, housing many with a limited use of land and stimulating social, educational, and political discourse. Today, however, cities need to be made more livable and sustainable than ever.

Concepts for smart growth and new urbanism have been shared and debated for some time among architecture and urban design professionals. A movement called “New Ruralism,” led by Sibella Kraus of Sustainable Agriculture Education and the University of California at Berkeley’s Agriculture at the Metropolitan Edge Program, has been gaining momentum.  

In “A Call for New Ruralism,” Kraus writes:

We are positing New Ruralism as the corollary of New Urbanism with a related framework of principles, policies, and practices, and with the following as its preliminary vision statement: New Ruralism is the preservation and enhancement of urban edge rural areas as places that are indispensable to the economic, environmental, and cultural vitality of cities and metropolitan areas.

New Ruralism envisions architects, planners, and developers working together with farmers and policy makers, paying close attention to food sheds—the belts of land 100 miles from urban boundaries. As more urbanites come to value their connection to the farm, a reverence and concern for the future of the land heightens. The market hall is an ancient, urban point of contact between producers and consumers, where the aggregation of multiple vendors provides a greater selling opportunity and empowers consumers with choices and the benefits of competition. Bringing agricultural pursuits closer to the city builds a region’s identity and the consumption of the products of that region supports the local economy.  

Over the past 10 years, BALDAUF CATTON VON ECKARTSBERG Architects (BCV) has designed a number of significant market halls in California, including the San Francisco Ferry Building, which brings local producers from the Bay Area food shed into an urban environment to sell their products. The Marketplace offers farm-fresh produce, cafes, restaurants, and specialty retailers seven days a week, plus a twice-weekly Farmers’ Market. As a marketplace, a mass transit hub, and home of the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture, the adaptive reuse of the Ferry Building aligns with the principles of New Ruralism in its advocacy for sustainable agriculture and in its environmental, economic, and cultural goals. 

The concepts of New Ruralism are also central to our strategy for the design of a new neighborhood for San Francisco: Treasure Island. The 400-acre island—slated to undergo a major transformation that will result in 60 percent dedicated open space—is destined to become one of the foremost transit-oriented, sustainable urban enclaves in the United States.   

The master plan for Treasure Island, a collaboration of BCV, Conger Moss Guillard, Hornberger + Worstell, Perkins + Will, and Skidmore Owings and Merrill, includes housing for more than 6,000 residents within a 10 to 15 minute walk of a new ferry terminal that connects to San Francisco. Plans for the public open space include parks, fields, trails, and an urban organic farm. One of the existing airplane hangars is to be reused as a market hall and artisan food production facility.

The need for agricultural reform has been brought to public attention by the popularity of Michael Pollan’s books and the work of the Slow Food Movement. Pollan’s descriptions of sustainable agriculture in The Omnivore’s Dilemma include a pleasurable scene: sitting around a table with friends, farmers, and producers—notably including the community that helped to bring the food to the table.
 
In 2008, BCV helped rally more than 20 Bay Area design firms to assist with the planning, design, and fabrications for Slow Food Nation ’08—the first American gathering of the sustainable food movement. Relationships were forged between the design community and food producers, farmers, chefs, policymakers, and educators in the sustainable agriculture movement. This led to the creation of a grand hall of taste celebrating local foods, a farmers’ market, and a Victory Garden planted in San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza. The Garden was harvested a handful of times, supplying city shelters with organic produce.

For a generation of architects, planner,s and urban designers, building mixed-use, transit-oriented communities has been central to the principles of New Urbanism. New Ruralism reminds us that cities do not exist in isolation and can be made richer by celebrating the connection to their food sheds providing a layer of potential programming, diversity, and connections. This layer is full of opportunities for education and enjoyment of sustainable principles and community building, which lead to healthier cities and individuals.  

Hans Baldauf is principal at BALDAUF CATTON VON ECKARTSBERG Architects.


Process: Celebrating the Connection between Urban and Rural

24 June, 2009


In 2008, the world passed a watershed point—more people now live in cities than not. How we make these cities and how they relate to the rest of the world will be critical to the survival of the planet. As history demonstrates, cities have the potential of being very efficient organizations, housing many with a limited use of land and stimulating social, educational, and political discourse. Today, however, cities need to be made more livable and sustainable than ever.

Concepts for smart growth and new urbanism have been shared and debated for some time among architecture and urban design professionals. A movement called “New Ruralism,” led by Sibella Kraus of Sustainable Agriculture Education and the University of California at Berkeley’s Agriculture at the Metropolitan Edge Program, has been gaining momentum.  

In “A Call for New Ruralism,” Kraus writes:

We are positing New Ruralism as the corollary of New Urbanism with a related framework of principles, policies, and practices, and with the following as its preliminary vision statement: New Ruralism is the preservation and enhancement of urban edge rural areas as places that are indispensable to the economic, environmental, and cultural vitality of cities and metropolitan areas.

New Ruralism envisions architects, planners, and developers working together with farmers and policy makers, paying close attention to food sheds—the belts of land 100 miles from urban boundaries. As more urbanites come to value their connection to the farm, a reverence and concern for the future of the land heightens. The market hall is an ancient, urban point of contact between producers and consumers, where the aggregation of multiple vendors provides a greater selling opportunity and empowers consumers with choices and the benefits of competition. Bringing agricultural pursuits closer to the city builds a region’s identity and the consumption of the products of that region supports the local economy.  

Over the past 10 years, BALDAUF CATTON VON ECKARTSBERG Architects (BCV) has designed a number of significant market halls in California, including the San Francisco Ferry Building, which brings local producers from the Bay Area food shed into an urban environment to sell their products. The Marketplace offers farm-fresh produce, cafes, restaurants, and specialty retailers seven days a week, plus a twice-weekly Farmers’ Market. As a marketplace, a mass transit hub, and home of the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture, the adaptive reuse of the Ferry Building aligns with the principles of New Ruralism in its advocacy for sustainable agriculture and in its environmental, economic, and cultural goals. 

The concepts of New Ruralism are also central to our strategy for the design of a new neighborhood for San Francisco: Treasure Island. The 400-acre island—slated to undergo a major transformation that will result in 60 percent dedicated open space—is destined to become one of the foremost transit-oriented, sustainable urban enclaves in the United States.   

The master plan for Treasure Island, a collaboration of BCV, Conger Moss Guillard, Hornberger + Worstell, Perkins + Will, and Skidmore Owings and Merrill, includes housing for more than 6,000 residents within a 10 to 15 minute walk of a new ferry terminal that connects to San Francisco. Plans for the public open space include parks, fields, trails, and an urban organic farm. One of the existing airplane hangars is to be reused as a market hall and artisan food production facility.

The need for agricultural reform has been brought to public attention by the popularity of Michael Pollan’s books and the work of the Slow Food Movement. Pollan’s descriptions of sustainable agriculture in The Omnivore’s Dilemma include a pleasurable scene: sitting around a table with friends, farmers, and producers—notably including the community that helped to bring the food to the table.
 
In 2008, BCV helped rally more than 20 Bay Area design firms to assist with the planning, design, and fabrications for Slow Food Nation ’08—the first American gathering of the sustainable food movement. Relationships were forged between the design community and food producers, farmers, chefs, policymakers, and educators in the sustainable agriculture movement. This led to the creation of a grand hall of taste celebrating local foods, a farmers’ market, and a Victory Garden planted in San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza. The Garden was harvested a handful of times, supplying city shelters with organic produce.

For a generation of architects, planner,s and urban designers, building mixed-use, transit-oriented communities has been central to the principles of New Urbanism. New Ruralism reminds us that cities do not exist in isolation and can be made richer by celebrating the connection to their food sheds providing a layer of potential programming, diversity, and connections. This layer is full of opportunities for education and enjoyment of sustainable principles and community building, which lead to healthier cities and individuals.  

Hans Baldauf is principal at BALDAUF CATTON VON ECKARTSBERG Architects.
 


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