Architecture

Aquaponic urban farm puts seniors to work

Aquaponic urban farm puts seni...
Homefarm is a concept that mixes accommodation for seniors with an urban farm run, in part, by its retiree residents (Image: Spark)
Homefarm is a concept that mixes accommodation for seniors with an urban farm run, in part, by its retiree residents (Image: Spark)
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Homefarm is a concept that mixes accommodation for seniors with an urban farm run, in part, by its retiree residents (Image: Spark)
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Homefarm is a concept that mixes accommodation for seniors with an urban farm run, in part, by its retiree residents (Image: Spark)
With Homefarm, Spark seeks to generate discussion about the potential benefits that can emerge from the mixing of two typically separate realms (Image: Spark)
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With Homefarm, Spark seeks to generate discussion about the potential benefits that can emerge from the mixing of two typically separate realms (Image: Spark)
As well as producing food, Homefarm would improve health and community among Singaporean seniors (Image: Spark)
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As well as producing food, Homefarm would improve health and community among Singaporean seniors (Image: Spark)
A section view of the Homefarm concept (Image: Spark)
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A section view of the Homefarm concept (Image: Spark)
An aerial view of the Homefarm concept (Image: Spark)
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An aerial view of the Homefarm concept (Image: Spark)
A plan view of the Homefarm concept (Image: Spark)
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A plan view of the Homefarm concept (Image: Spark)
The Homefarm apartment mix (Image: Spark)
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The Homefarm apartment mix (Image: Spark)
The Homefarm water cycle (Image: Spark)
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The Homefarm water cycle (Image: Spark)
The Homefarm biomass plant (Image: Spark)
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The Homefarm biomass plant (Image: Spark)
The Homefarm production capacity (Image: Spark)
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The Homefarm production capacity (Image: Spark)

Among the oft-cited benefits of urban farming are improved food security and production sustainability. According to Spark Architects, its Homefarm part retirement home, part retiree-run urban farm concept would achieve not only these, but improved health and community spirit among Singapore seniors.

Many of the urban farm concepts featured in Gizmag are large outlandish blue-sky ideas. Some, however, are more realistically employable, like the Globe (hedron) rooftop fish farm. And others, like the Windowfarms indoor gardening system, actually become a reality. Though ambitious, Spark's Homefarm concept arguably falls into the employable category.

Spark says that its actual aim is to "generate discussion about the many potentials that can emerge from the mixing of two typically separate realms." Specifically, in this case, it's referencing the combination of accommodation and facilities for seniors with an urban farm. It notes the context that Singapore has a significantly aging population, growing city populations and imports over 90 percent of its food. The Homefarm concept, it says, addresses all of these issues.

The Homefarm water cycle (Image: Spark)
The Homefarm water cycle (Image: Spark)

Homefarm would mix accommodation with vertical aquaponic farming (fertilizing plants from the waste produced by fish also being farmed) and ground-level and rooftop soil planting of vegetables. Rainwater would be collected for use in the aquaponic system and plant waste collected for use in biomass energy generation. Not only would the accommodation be designed specifically to meet the needs of seniors, but it is proposed that the seniors would be instrumental in running the farm under the instruction of a professional team.

In this way, the project could increase the amount of food produced domestically in Singapore, increase inner-city food production, provide work and income for post-retirement individuals, provide an opportunity for improving health among seniors and develop a sense of community within a retirement complex. Spark also suggests that such developments could serve as places for community education.

Spark Director Stephen Pimbley says he is keen for the Homefarm concept to be built in the future, calling it a "realizable solution to real and pressing problems."

Source: Spark Architects

8 comments
oldguy
Hey, I'm retired. Go work in the garden yourslf! The Cheek!..........
Gavin Roe
Unfortunately this concept has major flaws a) the area available to farm b) the would be farmers are generally not in good shape
Stephen N Russell
replicate this worldwide, esp for urban sites alone, awesome idea Reuse idle acerage for project alone
Think&Do
Gardened my whole life. Wish our society would design retirement homes so all can stay involved and be as productive as possible.
Catherine Conrad
The problem is, the illustration depicts individuals squating and weeding or bending over and hoeing. The older people I know all have knee replacements and lumbar spine surgeries from blown disks. They can maintenance veg beds, but the beds must be raised up.
Herbaldoc49
Brilliant idea. Great to see that the elderly would be encouraged to still be active. Huge benefits to any community well be gained from this as a lot of elderly feel that they have nothing to contribute any more but this well encourage participation not only from the elderly but also the younger generation. Medical benefits could be gained as well. I see no reason for any one to knock this idea because from a medical and sociological point of view being active at any age and especially in the twilight years is a great asset for all concerned. This has the benefit of bring people of all ages back to together again. Wisdom and knowledge of age is something all communities need to value.
firozshroff
Amazing - application of Wellness Mindset by giving purpose to Seniors
Gavin Roe
the mind is willing but the body is generally frail,