Denmark is making huge investments in urban agriculture, with some of the world’s leading architects and designers steering the way to a whole-systems, ecological approach to growing food.
By Jill Fehrenbacher
By Tafline Laylin
Oct 3 and Sept 15, 2016
William McDonough: The Agro Food Park is a whole complex right now with 75 companies, about 1000 people. It’s part of the Danish Agriculture and Food Council and was opened in 2009, about 460,000 square feet. There’s about half a million square feet already in place with 75 companies, and they’re looking to expand and build an additional roughly three million square feet over the next 30 years. That’s what we’re doing here as the master plan and then conceiving how this sort of agricultural technology and food production thinking in Denmark can be expanded as commercial opportunities for people and their synergies. This is a place, literally, where people could be engaging in the business of feeding the world safe, healthy food. That, to us, is very exciting.
Inhabitat: Is it an office park that people commute to from towns nearby, or will it house a community of full-time residents?
William McDonough: The Agro Food Park is kind of a research and incubator hub, but not residential housing. The nice thing about the Danish landscape is that people get there easily on bicycles. They live around it, all around it. It’s like like working in the Netherlands where it’s relatively flat, and people ride their bikes. The key thing here, we typically prefer very dynamic mixed-use in basically everything that we can. It’s one of the great discoveries of the obvious is that live-work is probably the most important element of transit, which is you don’t need it in many cases, you know, when you look at history. This is meant to be a hub for the people who work in agriculture to rub elbows and share the same coffee and compare notes all the time. It’s a giant watering hole.