Fancy retiring to a high-rise farm?
New Design concept
combines housing for seniors and vertical urban farming
An Architecture firm has come up with an
unusual solution to two problems that are growing increasingly urgent in
Singapore : its aging population and food security.
Spark, which has an office here, unveiled
its Home Farm concept yesterday - a vertical vegetable farm that doubles
as a home for senior citizens, who could help tend the crops.
In this High-rise, high density concept,
vegetables would be grown on the outside of the building. The system
would be based on aquaponic farming, which channels waste produced by
fish to plants.
Retirees could earn money by working
part-time at tasks such as planting, harvesting and delivery.
Spark director Stephen Pimbley emphasized
that it should not be seen as a 'labor camp' for seniors.
'We are simply presenting an opportunity
for part-time work, should it be desired, which could assist with income
support and social engagement," he said.
The residential development would have
care facilities for seniors on the lower levels.
It could also include a social centre, a
hawker centre or a shopping mall, and a fresh food market where
residents could sell their produce.
The concept adopts an existing system used
by Singapore urban farming initiative ComCrop. In 2013, it created a
farm - which is still there - on the rooftop of *Scape shopping mall,
growing produce such as Italian basil and heirloom tomatoes.
Discussing the affordability of such
housing for seniors, Mr. Pimbley said that he hoped it would be a
government-led initiative and that it had never been aimed at
He plans to start talks with the relevant
authorities about the farm next month after Chinese New Year.
Even if the concept cannot be used in a
new development, it could be retrofitted for existing high-rise housing.
Potential residents, however, might need
to be won over.
Former call-center employee Lydia Lee, 65,
said: "It would be like the old days when farming was a way of life. But
I doubt it will become a reality - it just seems so bizarre."
[The site pictured is
adjacent to Pearlbank at Outram Road].