Housing developments for locavores? It makes a lot of sense.
I recently heard a piece on NPR about Agriburbs, housing developments that focus on local food production for residents. Agriburbia, is a movement, but the name has also been adopted by a developer out of Golden, Colorado, TSR Group. They own the website Agriburbia.com which attempts to be a portal for an ‘innovative and growing design movement that integrates aspects of agrarianism with land development. Te site notes that Agriburbia includes characteristics of New Urbanism, modernism, historic preservation, and other environmentally sustainable principles of real estate development.
Agriburbia promotes agriculture — in specific local food production — as the centerpiece of both new and existing housing communities:
… This “truly” sustainable initiative improves the quality of life by combining the best qualities of rural living with the advantages of urban conveniences and culture. The result is improved agriculture, enhanced development practices and the enrichment of the residents, tenants, and guests within these Agriburbia mixed-use developments.
Agriburbia (the developer) promotes and supports the following policies and principles:
- Agricultural Production: No loss of agricultural value or revenue (“Green Fields” development), or production of dietary requirements of the project or equivalent cash from sales crops, or combination thereof.
- Locally Grown Food: Production of a significant portion (30 to 50%) of dietary requirements grown within or in the immediate surrounding area of the community
- Conserves and Promotes Natural Resources: Appropriate and efficient use of natural resources to provide housing, transportation, recreation and fresh food through creative, harmonious land planning and landscape architecture for the community. This includes use of alternative energy sources as well as land and water.
- Self Sufficiency: Provide a commercially viable opportunity for enhanced self- sufficiency for community residents, tenants, and guests.
- Sustainable Energy Practices : Integrate solar and geothermal technology to provide sustainable energy sources for the community.
- Financing: Incorporate established entities (Metropolitan Districts, HOAs) to finance both traditional infrastructure (streets, water, sewer) and environmentally friendly agricultural infrastructure (drip irrigation)
Agriburbia (the movement) is indeed related to the New Agricultural Urbanism movement, wherein agricultural operations are located in proximity to and integrated with urban areas. The term and concept of Agricultural Urbanism was originally developed in British Columbia in 2008 during a planning process for a development project called Southlands in South Delta, Metro Vancouver. From that movement sprang Development Supported Agriculture a real estate movement that preserves and invests in agricultural land use. The premise of DSA is that farmland is on the decline because of the challenging economics of farming and the pressures of the real estate industry. DSA projects incubate small-scale organic farms to co-exist with residential land development, providing benefits to farmers, residents, the local community, and the environment.