Nebula: The Outlook of Gardening in the Digital Age
Food as a central pillar to human survival makes it an essential foundation to our economies, and the health, wellbeing and cohesion of our communities. Urban agriculture has been reintegrated into built environments as populations seek localised, healthier, and more stable methods of food production. Research suggests that successful models of urban agriculture, such as Cuba’s urban food revolution that thrived in response to the 1989 trade embargo, achieve resilience when driven by crisis. A similar model, in response to the millennium drought, could enable a shift in the agricultural practices of Melbourne. This could be achieved through the application of robust sustainable design solutions that address the fragility of its ecologies and severity of its water shortages.
This project explores the notion of sitopian food cities through examining the successes of industrial agricultural and design technologies, and their potential to address the broader contentions within urban agriculture. Interaction design methodologies are deployed to enhance the tangibility of issues in the urban agriculture movement including its exorbitant water input, low yields, and waste within the value chain from farm to fork.
Founded upon principles of water-sensitive design solutions, aeroponics is a method of growing agriculture in a misted microclimate, achieving up to 90% less water consumption. This project proposes an alternative kitchen foodscape system through the integration of responsive and networked technologies, including intuitive data mapping, humidifiers, micro sensors, and remote online interfaces. Consumer engagement is reoriented to shift seamlessly from manual labour into the astute digital realm, where the sustainable indicators of embodied resource input are measured adjacent to food yield, and the social benefits that closing the distance between farm and fork brings.