IABR Lesson #48: How To Create Your Own Cyber Garden

Gardening in the 21st century is not about a shovel and a rake any more. Today we talk cyber-gardening, that’s all about applying the latest technologies to produce our food. London-based design office EcoLogicStudio has developed a new agro-urban prototype for algae cultivation — a digital design project that combines urbanism, food manufacturing and ecology.

The hanging algae garden is self-reliant and consists of micro- and macro-algal organisms. The system is equipped with ambient light, sensing technologies and a virtual interface. Observations, data and results of the experiment can be tracked online. People passing by can also contribute to the project by breathing into a tube. This way the algae are being supplied with CO2.

EcoLogicStudio's cyber garden

The urban gardening experiment is not just looking astonishing and rather futuristic, but it has a practical objective as well. Algae cultivation could offer new opportunities for economic development in the Sweden’s Österlen region, where the population is aging and fishing activities are diminishing. Algae, as raw material for food, fuel and chemicals, can provide new jobs to farmers and fishermen in this coastal region. The cultivation of algae can also contribute to the production of bio-energy in Sweden — the project inquires the applicability to larger algae landscapes.

EcoLogicStudio's cyber garden

This kind of urban agriculture makes people think about sustainable systems, integrating the rural and urban landscape of the future. Cyber-Gardening the City is being exhibited at the Kunsthal in Rotterdam during the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam 2014, as part of the Urban Metabolism theme.

Courtesy photos 1 and 2 HORTUS, photo 3 Sue Barr

IABR 2014

Pop-Up City is official media partner of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam 2014. In the coming months we’re making an article series about the best the IABR has to offer.