It’s really more of an agriplex combining vertical farming, aquaponics, raised bed and organic gardening into a residential development for senior citizens with shopping, recreation, employment, and health care facilities on the grounds. But since no one else is using that term, we’ll stick with it being a ‘holistic agrihood’. The concept pairs urban agriculture with retirement living to address population needs that become more demanding as the baby boom generation ages. This represents a sizable percentage of people living in many countries. Currently, 20% of Japan is aged 65 or older, and China and Singapore will reach this stage by 2030.
Through research that developed the Homefarm concept, SPARK, an architectural firm with offices in London and key cities in Asia, designed a development that would provide a positive, healthy lifestyle for senior that gave them the opportunity to earn an income, and easy access to medical facilities. The project has been presented several times this year, including at the World EXPO in Milan with a display inside the Villa Necchi Campiglio as part of the UKTI’s Great British event.
In Singapore, where 90% of all food is imported, food security issues are huge. SPARK’s seeks to improve the state of retirement living in an urban environment and provide the city with a sustainable source of locally grown fresh food in one neat package. While it is still in a concept stage, the design and it’s benefits have captured the attention of both the international architectural community and the public, which isn’t surprising given the scope of amenities, and aesthetic beauty in contemporary design. The plan is well thought out, covering recycling gray water and agricultural waste, creating biomass energy for the development, providing healthy activity for aging citizens, and a reasonable source of some income with a waiting market.
After presenting the concept at the International Skyrise Greenery Conference, and the 2015 World Architecture Festival in Singapore, where it won the Future Experimental Project award in early November, SPARK has now been contracted to build a Homefarm development in Cyberjaya, Malaysia for HSC Health Care Group. While the renderings for Homefarm Cyberjaya look completely different from the original idea, the concept remains sustainable living in a healthy environment centered around agricultural production that gives seniors quality living arrangements that allow them to remain active, and maintain dignity and self-esteem during their twilight years.
The world’s first holistic retirement community combining health care and urban farming is set to come to life on a 6.5 hectare parcel in Malaysia’s version of Silicon Valley. Just 30 kilometers south of Kuala Lumpur, Cyberjaya is a major part of the country’s Multimedia Super Corridor… a fitting location for a senior lifestyle complex integrated with cloud-based healthcare technology that allows residents to access and monitor vital signs.
Homefarm Cyberjaya will feature an HSC Medical Center, and 6 residential towers around a central garden and farm. Community amenities include a nursing home, along with sports, recreational, and retail spaces. Green architecture, sustainability, and health and wellness interlace with green spaces, fresh food, and accessibility. Vertical farming on the walls of the buildings integrates air filtering and an algae bio-fuel system. A car parking podium protects the central garden courtyard from pollution, and shuts out noise to maintain a serene atmosphere. Maintaining sustainability without sacrificing crop health will use both grey water and rain water harvesting for garden irrigation, aquaponics, and cleaning.