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   data.entry 30 | 01 | 2015

 

30 | 01 | 2015

The Straits Times

Fancy Retiring to a high-rise farm?

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02 | 04 | 2014

The Straits Times

Pearlbank still special after all these years

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  23 | 04 | 14

The Straits Times

Pearlbank owners bank on conservation order

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05 | 12 | 2012

The Straits Times

4 clinch top accolades for their design work

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08 | 12 | 2008

The Straits Times

High-Rise Pioneer - Tan Cheng Siong

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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 high-income earners.

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].

   
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