Here’s an entry that caught our eye from the Reburbia Competion, a competition for redesigning post-suburbia. This entry by Forrest Fulton is a re-design of a big box retail environment into a suburban farm, greenhouse and restaurant.


With more and more big box businesses in the suburbs of old closing their doors or moving to newer locations, large expanses of retail and parking real-estate are becoming empty. This creates an excellent opportunity to re-purpose them into more functional businesses, such as bringing a more local dimension to agriculture. A we’ve already seen vertical farming emerge as a concept in urban environments, suburbia is becoming agriculture’s final frontier. This is not about returning to the ways of life of the past, but about combining their best elements with new technology and know-how to make a greener more effective culture.

The parking lot becomes a park-farm. The inside of the big box becomes a greenhouse and restaurant. Asphalt farming techniques allow for layering of soil, compost in containers on top of asphalt. The big box stores roof is partially replaced with a greenhouse roof. Other details, such as the reversal of parking lot light poles into solar trees that hold photovoltaics can be implemented. One can imagine pushing a shopping cart through this suburban farm and picking your produce right from the vine, with the option to bring your harvest to the restaurant chef for preparation and eating your harvest on the spot. As other types of businesses become obsolete, out of fashion, they may need to imagine themselves as part of a productive suburb.

from Reburbia 2009