Synergising Architecture

Integrating Food System Processes with Urban Functions Towards Liveable and Sustainable Agri-Food Business Parks in Westland

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Food has played an important role in shaping our metropolitan regions, such as Westland in South Holland, The Netherlands. The industrialisation and globalisation of agriculture in Westland has prioritised economy and efficiency, creating issues of liveability and sustainability. The market-driven expansion of the agri-food industry has contributed to spatial competition in Westland and has created many spatial consequences, one of the most serious being the fact that according to surveys, areas around agri-food business parks have the lowest liveability scores in the region. These food-related issues are multi-faceted spatial matters that architects can address. The aim of this research is to better understand how the synergistic integration of food system processes with urban functions through architecture can create a more liveable and sustainable development of agri-food business parks in Westland.

First, key strategies towards integrating food systems with urban areas are identified through a theoretical exploration of case-study projects of past architects and planners. Following this exploration, the matters that architects can have an impact on in the food system are determined. Next, a spatial analysis of the selected agri-food business park is carried out to determine spatial factors that are contributing to low-liveability in the area. Missing spatial qualities that can restore liveability are then identified. Based on the result of the theoretical exploration and spatial analysis, a design framework is devised and synthesised in a set of spatial design tools that can be used to create an architectural intervention that can act as a catalyst and disrupt the problematic urban development around agri-food business parks in Westland. The spatial design tools are then interpreted in a design of a master plan and architectural proposal that reimagines a more liveable and sustainable future of Westland’s Honderdland agri-food business park in the town of Maasdijk.