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This Utne Reader article describes what may be a subdivision trend–designing residential neighborhods integral to farms.

New developments in Chicago, Atlanta, and Colorado are moving beyond community gardens and contracting with farmers to run and manage the farm next door. And as the article points out, there is the potential for conflict, “pesticide drift,” etc. This is why we zoned in the first place, to separate percieved noxious uses, and even though these residents will be a self-selected group ready to get their hands dirty, fresh tomatos are one thing, manure is quite another. When you look at the websites, there is a definite “people like us” vibe that makes you wonder if agriburbia is the green equivalent of a gated community.

But in Montgomery County, 1/3 of our land is reserved for agircultural uses and lots of people live out there. The question is are they there for the view or for the vegetables?

One Response to “Agriburbia–are we already there?”

  1. joshua sloan

    Claudia – you beat me too it – great synopsis of some interesting articles. A couple other things I wanted to expand on though….

    We’ve done a few things in the past couple years that focus our review of development on more systematic impacts. These go beyond the traditional view of “adequate public facilities” (APF), i.e. do we have the infrastructure/service capacity to handle new development.

    One example is the focus on decreasing “vehicle miles traveled” (VMT) – how much do you have to drive to get things done (commute, shop, etc), which focuses development on lowering CO2 production that impacts the carbon cycle. (And moving towards moderate, multi-family densities rather than more large, detached-living arrangements has a much greater beneficial impact on carbon output.) In the future, we may be able to model carbon impacts as a method of review.

    Another example is our focus on “environmentally sensitive design”, which focuses on diffuse and diverse stormwater management techniques to promote rainwater infiltration – part of the hydrologic cycle. As technologies progress, we will get better and better at replicating these ecological cycles.

    These trends you have directed us to point towards another systems-based approach to development: integrated food production. It’s probably measurable, too. How much food-stuff do we buy and eat (much more than we need to) versus where are those products grown (created)? Should we create a new “AFF: adequate food facilities” test?

    And if your subdivision doesn’t have a farm – even the tightest urban plot can grow something: Ground Rules: “Kitchen gardens” are having their moment in the sun. But eating your lawn takes some planning. (