Regenerating the ground: Using regenerative agricultural practices to increase urban food production and restore the health of soils
Date of Award
Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)
New England is blessed with a mosaic of productive agricultural landscapes. These agricultural landscapes also sustain valuable wildlife habitats, provide flood control and act as an enormous carbon sink. Farmland in New England declined significantly in the 20th century as agricultural land was abandoned and developed into urban and suburban sprawl. In 1930 there were about 14 billion acres of farmland, by 2017, there were only 4 billion acres left. New England lost almost 70% of farmland in the past 80 years. John Dobberstein has claimed that due to our current development and agricultural practices, there are only 60 harvests left. In order to meet future food needs, we are likely going to have to look to non-traditional agricultural sites and alternative agricultural practices.
This thesis delves into retrofitting dying commercial land with a high-intensity urban regenerative agriculture system. By learning the principles of regenerative agriculture, the thesis aims to replace the depressed urban property with regenerative farmland and couple animals and crops to improve the site’s soil health and bring the healthy ecosystem back. The proposal for the 120-acre site includes aquaponic greenhouses, crops coupled with chicken tractors, rotational grazing, and agroforestry. The outcome of the thesis offers an approach that shows agriculture can coexist with development and blurs the boundary between the urban and rural. It not only addresses the increasing demand for food but also brings a regenerative lifestyle for people.
Liao, Yuxiao, "Regenerating the ground: Using regenerative agricultural practices to increase urban food production and restore the health of soils" (2022). Masters Theses. 939.
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View exhibition online: Yuxiao Liao, Regenerating the ground