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Real estate can embrace urban agriculture for small-scale healthy food production in cities

Sustainable city projects talk about space, transit and vehicles, energy balance, and planning the facilities and amenities that the people need for a healthy and happy living in the city. The real estate owners who plan commercial real estate projects and housing societies play a massive role in designing sustainable cities.

One of the key differentiators in such projects is to plan for small farming in the urban landscape—vertical farming, underground farms, or suburb farming. Architects Katrin Bohn and André Viljoen, are established researchers on sustainable urban landscape studies and projects, as they explain it in detail in this paper—The Edible City: Envisioning the Continuous Productive Urban Landscape (CPUL).

While urban agriculture when practiced by real estate owners sounds promising, a lot of cross-domain planning is required for the possible impact on the infrastructure and the resources in the project area. The food is produced closer to the consumer leading to reduced cost in storage and transport. The farms are set up in regulated environment for light, soil, water, and maintenance. The food security from natural or human made threats is another challenge associated with urban farming.

This energy balance is the key driver that real estate owners need to consider, holistically, among the architects and town planners, policy makers, environmentalists, for compliance, and for any risk-mitigation plans.

For a detailed story on how some of the urban agriculture projects worked in the world and what were the challenges, see this Frame Publishers story.

The Mohali Aerocity and the entire stretch on the Mohali Airport Road is quickly growing as a commercial real estate hub in North India. Some of the project owners can leverage this opportunity to get into the deep study of how urban farming can make sense in their projects, the viability, the impact on climate and on the life of people, and then make some investments if there is a merit. It can only get better from here.

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