Andre Viljoen and Katrin Bohn

The compact city model is currently favoured as that most likely to support sustainable development. Its major benefit in relation to environmental sustain­ability is the reduction in travelling distances and hence transport, due to compaction and mixed-use development. We see Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes (CPULs) complementing compaction, by including the major contribution urban food pro­duction can make towards environmental sustain – abilty. Furthermore, we think that this combination will create a new kind of city, one with a richness of associations and experiences, to date found either in the city or the countryside...



With the introduction of CPULs, habitat for animals and birds will increase and therefore so will bio­diversity, an example of Ecological Intensification. At the same time, the development of composting systems in support of organic urban agriculture will improve soil condition. Sight and sounds within the city will change. Composting will reduce the num­ber of refuse trucks and improved biodiversity will reintroduce the dawn chorus (see Figure 25.11) with the sound of birds, and insects.

In the earlier paragraph describing exposure to nature, we see how a number of natural phenomena and practical requirements overlay a site;each con­dition animating the place in a different way, each providing inhabitants with a different meaning for


Figure 25.12



Figure 25.11




In London, this is achieved by identifying existing patches of un – or under-developed land, of parks or playing fields and then planning and designing their inter-connection. Generally, roads provide the con­necting element. Careful consideration of access requirements and circulation patterns usually indi­cates a number of roads that may be closed to through-traffic (see Plates 6, 7 and 8).

In London, for example, a cycle path running all along a particular CPUL would allow a person liv­ing in East Croydon (circa 20 km south of the city centre) to reach the city centre by bicycle in about an hour.

The fields proposed for the Manor Estate in Sheffield (see Figures 25.8, 25.9 and 25.10) pro­vide a landscape resource for the city of Sheffield,


Figure 25.10


Figure 2...


Direct Economic Benefits

One of the first questions asked about the viability of urban agriculture in existing cities is: where will the land come from? The answer will depend on whether the urban agriculture is to be located within the built-up area of an existing city or if it is to be sited within a planned urban extension on greenfield or brown-field sites (see Figure 25.8).

Greenfield and brownfield sites provide extensive areas of land within which CPULs may be devel­oped. For urban agriculture, the availability of open land is not the only requirement – soil type and

Figure 25.3 Victoria Park CPUL: External view of apartments and landscape.


Sheffield site plan 92 persons per hectare

Newark site model 214 persons per hectare

Figure 25.4

Shoreditch site model 450 persons per hectare

condition will have a si...



Economic return from ground-use can be meas­ured in two ways: one way is to measure direct economic benefits resulting from new employ­ment and enterprises; and the other, arguably more important in the long term, is to measure reductions in environmental degradation, due to pro­ductive urban landscapes. These benefits, accru­ing from reduced environmental impact, lessen the future costs associated with remedial environ­mental work.

We use the term ‘site yield’ to refer to quantifiable environmental benefits resulting from sustainable development, which utilises, for example, renew­able energy systems, rainwater harvesting or includes urban agriculture...



Katrin Bohn and Andre Viljoen


An important characteristic of CPULs is the way in which a variety of occupations occur, such as gar­dening, farming, commuting, playing sport, leisure time activities like parties and picnics, which are undertaken by a variety of occupants, for example, schoolchildren, market gardeners, city dwellers, retired people. . . . This variety of occupants may engage with one or more of the occupations found within CPULs. The range of possible permutations between an individual occupant of a CPUL and their single, or many, activities or occupations is large and greater than in many public facilities, such
as leisure centres. CPULs combine the tranquil qual­ities of a park with physical activities...



Rivers and fields contribute to persistent visual stimulation, a characteristic of productive urban landscapes. In some cases direct relationships exist between spaces with different temporal rhythms, for example a river, with its frequent sur­face undulations reflecting a dappled light, and a gentle sound, seen against the slower rhythms of crop lifecycles.

The arrangement of furrows and beds for planting, which are found in typical urban agriculture sites and market gardens the world over, echo ancient patterns of spatial divisions, found in nature and agriculture (see Plate 16)...



Natural landscapes, those that are wild and unman­aged, exist in the city with a diminished significance,

Figure 24.8 Newark CPUL: Elevated terraced houses step down towards an adjacent riverbank. The broken-up terrace, sloping Westwards, minimizes overshadowing of urban agriculture fields and provides continuity of surface and access between fields.


Figure 24.10



Figure 24.9


both in terms of the number of these places and the recognition of their significance as a valuable eco­logical resource. Places often understood as natu­ral, for example parks, are artificial, constructed to provide an idea or image of outside-town, of the rural, the pastoral. CPULs will be part of this con­structed idea of the natural...



Benefits occur no matter what the scale of interven­tion. Modest linear fields (Figure 24.1), can provide space for paths, which connect private and public spaces. Making their adjacency visible encourages movement between the two. The paths and connect­ing landscape can be thought of as interventions

Figure 24.5 Newark CPUL: Houses, paths and fields.

Figure 24.6 Newark CPUL: Houses look out over fields, towards a river beyond.

Figure 24.7 ElastiCity CPUL, Sheffield: Garden/courtyards mediate between the private realm of the house and the public realm of a CPUL. A two-storey core home can be enlarged by building single-storey additions in the garden/courtyard.


which mark and reveal. Routes to shops become adjacent to places where food is grown...



It is reasonable to expect that during the first stages of implementation of CPULs, a series of small interventions will, be made, eventually leading to an extensive network of connected spaces. Such

Figure 24.2 Victoria Park CPUL: Small pieces of land, such as this one between two live/work units, can accommodate micro fields that are productive but domestic in character.

Подпись: Figure 24.3


an approach will, over time, create a sense of open­ness within an otherwise uniformly built and occu­pied environment. Figure 24.4 shows the outcome of this kind of strategy, whereby over time disused and abandoned sites become activated and used in an environmentally and socially productive manner. Here, productive landscapes occupy interstitial spaces found in the gaps between a predetermined urban grid...