Food for future cities

The adaptation of our culinary and cultural habits to the requirements of the planet is already underway. Revamped ways of growing and processing food in the city are key.

Laboratori Philips, greenhouse growing

You can read the full article on the Innovation issue, the supplement of Domus 1021, March 2018.

Humanity’s new objectives include an overhaul of the food we eat and the reinvention of its production processes in the city. With an eye (and a mind) to environmental sustainability and more nutritious food, cities are turning into veritable urban farms where insects, algae, freeze-dried aliments, lettuce and micro-greens will be the mainstays of the edible future. In recent centuries, we humans have strayed from nature when it comes to urbanism, industrial design and food production. But now we want to return, so we “artificially” create ideas to get closer to the nature we lost, to meld with it – futuristically, this time.

From Jean-Jacques Rousseau to Timothy Morton, we have felt the need for a new world where we harmonise and interact with nature thanks to artifice. Food is a departure point. Vertical farms help produce vegetables in the city centre; sprouts are growing on the kitchen windowsill; designer terrariums breed insects next to the TV or on top of the cup- board; algae features both as food and light-emitting diffusers to illuminate the home. More innovative ideas are piling up at our doorstep. Will the citizens themselves be responsible for creating their own metropolitan food?

Francesco Faccin, Allevamento Domestico, Expo 2015
The terrarium Allevamento Domestico designed by Francesco Faccin, commissioned for the Triennale di Milano exhibition “Le Affinità Selettive” held during the Milan World Expo 2015. Made in Pyrex, Corian and metal, the concept is made for the day insects will be a diet staple.

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