Urban Planning - Community Food Systems


A conceptual project for a real world site. An urban community planning solution using integrative scalable food systems and mixed use residential. 


The Sun Valley area of Denver, Colorado is a community development opportunity to support the needs of existing inhabitants through residential food systems, skills training in urban agriculture & the development of a riverfront residential typology that supports their family structure.  

This project includes large scale urban planning, living food architecture, residential typological development & finally a specific residential schematic plan proposal as an understanding of the inherent constraints & opportunities.

The design constraints are to retain & restore the existing ecological flows of the site while  planning  mixed use/ residential & site drainage  to both hold water in the site for smaller storms while managing it better during flash & 100-year floods


What is an urban farm?

An Urban farm is an intentional effort by an individual or a community to grow its capacity for self-sufficiency and well-being through the cultivation of plants and/or animals with a balance between education & production.


Business Model Considerations

Financially successful farms all have one thing in common: they have matched a potential market for their products with the right scale of farming so that products are produced for less than they are sold for. Urban farms face a unique challenge with this formula because the land available to farm is almost always small.


Living Food Systems Architecture in this project

Scaleable living infrastructure with green streets, edible living walls, individual residential courtyards & interior vertical gardens. As well as a larger scale not for profit urban farm.


Regenerative community infrastructure

Waste regenerative composting of all onsite organic waste-water grey water recycling systems in building infrastructure and restorer* technologies within the riverbed. This project also uses energy-photovoltaics and thermal mass paired with a transpired solar collector.


Business solution

Therefore, the business goal is twofold:

1  Reduce production costs--sell to local markets/ on site is best

2  Increase revenue by:

a) Identifying niche crops that are in high demand and need to be delivered frequently, such as micro greens which have a higher price point

b) Develop a brand name that increases the value of the products by tying the non tangible benefits of the farm the name of the farm

c) Process produce into after-market products; such as salsa/ pesto


Designing a Sense of Place

Designing a Community Foodshed

Community traits applicable to this project from A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander


Regenerative Resource Cycles

Agricultural Production & Green Technology

Crops & Vegetables:

above ground garden beds (due to industry production, soil is not suitable for in-ground beds)

perennial fruit trees-- fig, mulberries, Asian pear, pomegranate as a hedge for bordering farm plot

Hothouse - tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers

Hardy winter plants - brassicas (kale, broccoli, cabbage)

Climbers - green beans and hops- climbers bees, rabbits (make great compost)

Diversity planting - polyculture crops in combination with permaculture design layout of plantings

Technology - *Green tech: wastewater treatment and restorer riverbed technology and riverbed restoration with two separate systems

Animals - using this as an opportunity to establish a wildlife corridor


Food Landscaping integration

rooftop gardens

community garden



edible landscaping

Living wall - interior residential




Currently zoning is compatible with the plan for this urban farm & residential community with food systems integration

Agriculture zoning can be overlaid on top of existing residential, commercial, or industrial areas.

Legalizing the sale of products from the urban farm can be an additional component 

Commercial farm areas & wilderness corridors can be designated as land trust to prevent development


Mixed use residential

Example of an individual townhome with LFSA (shown below)