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Urban Farm, Kuidaore Koen, Osaka, Japan

Part 2 Project 2003
Thomas Gardner
University of Cambridge UK
Breaking traditional patterns of growth and resource consumption in favour of sustainable full-process loops, the Urban Farm seeks to test how ‘mixed-use’ can be reinterpreted in the hyper-dense context of Osaka, ‘the Kitchen of Japan.’

Beginning from the idea of creating ‘hard-working’ public open space, the design accommodates agriculture, industry, institution and public garden into a new city district, pushing at the limits of programmatic intensity in a manner inspired by the excesses of ‘Manga,’ ubiquitous Japanese cartoons.

The result is a diverse urban territory that breaks down traditional distinctions between the ‘natural’ and the ‘artificial.’

Thomas Gardner

Urban design seeks to establish the moral and political conditions for civic praxis. Public space is not simply the squares and streets – or the ‘flowspace’ of malls and concourses – but rather the structured differentiation of the urban topography as a whole. The development of a credible intermediary order provides for a richness and diversity that is the basis of a fabric that supports historical change. Gardner’s proposal is part of an intervention in the extremely dense and often chaotic context of Osaka, Japan. A structure of mediation develops horizontally into a large, partly elevated, urban garden (of which Osaka has desperate need), and vertically from the intensity of Japanese street life to a rhythm of translucent urban farm-structures (hydroponic, aeroponic, etc.), through which falls a dappled light. In this carefully thought and even witty proposal, the customary distinctions between natural and artificial intertwine in an intense cultivation, characteristically Japanese, of the natural metabolism of urban possibilities and the subtle technology of bioremediation, urban farming and a new generosity of horizons.

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