SPARK’s recent conceptual project in Singapore is a bold interpretation of the city-state’s vision to be a “city in a garden.” Aptly called “Home Farm,” the project addresses Singapore’s rapidly aging population, proposing a combination of high-density senior housing and vertical urban farming.
With over 90 percent of its food imported, Singapore faces serious challenges, especially given the substantial demographic shift currently underway. SPARK attempts to tackle these issues with the Home Farm typology, which aims to achieve not only food security, but also healthy and environmentally sustainable living conditions for seniors.
The Home Farm design features stacked housing units within a curvilinear structure that wraps around a verdant central plaza featuring a produce market, library, and health center. The structure adapts a simple aquaponic system, and mimics a terraced farm landscape in both form and function, with leafy green vegetables growing on building facades and rooftops.
The vegetable gardens provide not only a source of food production, but also a way for seniors to become economically self-sufficient. Currently, surveys have revealed that seniors in Singapore are experiencing financial inadequacy. Additionally, chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes and arthritis are common.
At Home Farm, jobs for seniors could include planting, harvesting, sorting, and packing; remuneration of resident workers could include payment of salary, offsetting rental or utilities bills, offsetting healthcare costs at the on-site clinic, or free produce.
Gardening activity would also offer numerous benefits beyond personal income generation, including community connectivity and the promotion of health.
The sustainable, mixed-use development is in line with SPARK’s vision of “stitching the spaces of the city into our buildings, and of unfolding our buildings into the city.”
“We designed this concept for Singapore, but there is the potential for it to be applied in any location that would support the growth of leafy green vegetables on building facades and rooftops,” said SPARK Director Stephen Pimbley. “We are keen to see this project materialize at some point in the future. The concept is a realizable solution to real and pressing problems faced by many of the world’s growing cities.”