Developing Urban Food Resiliency

Traditional cities can be characterized by their dependency on the hinterland for food and resources, however what if this were not the case? What if the urban fabric had the resilient capacity to support its population with adequate food without compromising the integrity of ecological systems? What would it look like to design cities that facilitate humans living among the systems that support them with food?

This thesis project intends to answer some of these questions by proposing an imaginative design that challenges the assumption of what a city is. It aims to envision how cities can be designed to encourage resilient local food systems by redefining the role of urban communities within the local food web and reviving the once reciprocal relationship between humans and their natural environment.

Using regenerative design theory as a primary method of interpreting such site conditions, the work observes patterns between past and present to identify what key functions may have been lost and can potentially be revived to achieve the goal of developing a resilient urban food system. In doing so, this thesis will consider the local systematic conditions and potential of the proposed site as guides to define the specific parameters of this goal. This process will also be enhanced using precedents that can provide lessons of designing for reciprocal relationships between humans, plants, and animal systems.

As ecological deterioration and food security are increasingly concerning many communities around the world, regeneration of food webs in the urban context may provide some solutions to these interconnected issues. The proposed project will specifically look at exploring the potential resiliency of an urban ecology in the context of Winnipeg and will seek to understand how design strategies can interpret such ideas into effective yet respectful set of relationships for the city.