Agropolitan Mats, Rugs and Quilts

This studio will focus designing a suite of buildings, connective armatures and productive landscapes that can catalyse sustainable food regions in the fringes of one of Asia’s largest megacities, Jakarta. It will consider how such designs might contribute to a broader settlement typology capable of supporting relatively high population densities, mixed-use economies and agroecological principles in other parts of rapidly urbanising Asia.

Rapid urbanisation is increasingly threatening food security across Asia (FAO). Cities are sprawling at unprecedented rates, consuming fertile agricultural land and reducing the capacities of farmers to produce food in the process. Despite rising awareness of this issue, governments, developers and communities still lack the necessary designs, plans, prototypes and practical models that can meet this threat. This studio aims to contribute to this urgent need through design, research and recommendations for practical actions on the ground.

The studio will be guided by three general themes:

— Agropolitan territories: hybrid urban-rural regions developed around water-sensitive and agroecological development principles, socio-economic autonomy and decentralised technologies

— Mats, rugs and quilts: horizontal, thick 2D/shallow 3D settlement forms, typified by horizontal and dense sections, interlinking ramps, unifying roof structures, aerated open spaces integrating productive landscapes

— Seeding strategies: transformations catalysed in time (lifecycles, emergence, growth, entropy) and in thick environmental, material and institutional contexts.

We will work as a studio, in small groups and individually to develop complementary projects that combine a range of functions such as hydroponics, intensive rice farming, bamboo nurseries, mycelium production, maker workshops, electronics servicing, hawker centres, manufacturing, markets and cottage industries.

The studio will be focused on a series of 25-hectare sites located on the fringes of Jakarta, each selected for their proto-agropolitan characteristics, or their potential to develop as thriving agropolitan townships. An activity framework and associated resource-scape (living, dwelling, caring, making, growing, trading, deteriorating, repairing, reusing) will be used to develop complementary briefs for the projects.

The studio will not involve a physical fieldtrip (given the long distance to Jakarta) but will be supported in two specialist ways: a. field reporters to contribute specific site-based information to support the studio work as it develops — Jakarta-based urban design, landscape and planning students working with Future Cities Lab (FCL); b. geospatial data analytics from researchers at FCL in Singapore.