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US (NY): New urban greenhouses to activate vacant land in Brooklyn

Designers, experts in water and land use, educational innovators, and technical consultants have teamed for “Grow A Lot,” a three year Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America Commitment to Action to address the challenge of the urban food desert.

Activating vacant urban land with hydroponic greenhouses that provide produce to neighbourhoods with less access to fresh food, Grow A Lot is a design-forward intervention that brings value to communities by enriching unused sites via engaging, inviting architecture that is communicative and productive.

The Grow A Lot project launches with a prototype for East New York (Brooklyn), which will act as a model for future projects across the U.S. and beyond. This first greenhouse takes advantage of lots slated for housing development that currently lay vacant because of the low unit yield on developing small sites and/or the high costs of brownfield clean-up. Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation’s “Verde” arm will act as steward and organizer for this landmark prototype, based on NY Sun Works’ Greenhouse Project initiative.

Designed to be assembled quickly, the greenhouses will provide an extended growing season for fresh, hydroponically-grown local produce. The system pairs a semi-custom lenticular, billboard-like facade with a kit-of-parts greenhouse structure. Used in tandem, the design is able to address different site configurations in various urban fabrics. The lenticular fins provide the project’s signage and draw in passers-by while allowing the transparent building skin and outdoor areas to remain protected without the use of unattractive barriers. The façade is pulled back from the sidewalk edge to allow for a variety of programming, such as bicycle parking and farm stands.

In addition to supplying fresh food locally, the Grow A Lot project will bring educational programs to each greenhouse’s community as well. Each project will incorporate NY Sun Works’ classroom layouts and grade school curriculum

“Discovering Sustainability Science,” allowing the greenhouses to provide hands-on, curated STEM learning experiences to nearby schools, as well as community members, who will receive on-site job training.

Nexus Greenhouse Systems is responsible of the fabricating and the consultancy of the greenhouse structure. For more information about Nexus:

For more information:
Nexus Greenhouse Systems
Jeff Warschauer

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