A Growing Community
AGRICULTURE AS DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY
“Agriculture is the new golf.” Andres Duany, DPZ 2008.
Agriculture has been ingrained in the history and culture of Brunswick County. Over the last century, land that had previously been agriculture has been lost in the name of development and progress. The natural uses of the land has been ignored and forgotten. In recent years, ideas such as food to table, organic farming, sustainable agriculture, community supported agriculture and life/work balance has brought Americans to the point of looking at the benefits of agricultural land.
This system study challenges developers to look at the typical amenities of a community and go beyond the swimming pools and golf courses to promote value to a healthy life. The system ultimately informs an architectural language that transforms the vernacular structures which in turn activates the development system.
A Growing Community (AGC) is a system study looking at how to get a community developemnt to make a high social impact on not just the site, but the county as well. Farm to table is a social movement experience that promotes fresh ingredients direct from the farm This gives the customer piece of mind. The AGC System has a similar foundatoin and at the core begins with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). To be sure the site is not a burden ono the county, sustainable systems and practices of Low Impact Design (LID) are incorporated at every level of deveopment and maintenance. Public Interest Design (PID) is woven into the system to maximize the incorporation, involvement, and impact on the site, city, and county as a whole.
Looking at the three systems outlined above, there are clearly identifiable overlaps that naturally directs coorelations when combining them together into one system. The diagram to the right shows how AGS provides a way to weave together agriculture, research and education, sustainablity, and community. The connectivity and impact goes beyond the individuals who live here.
“A healthy diet helps protect against malnutrition in all its forms, as well as noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer. Unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity are leading global risks to health.” World Health Organization (www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs394/en/).
Brunswick County’s top priorities, according to the North Carolina Health Collaborative, is to increase social cohesion and health education. The survey that was sent out to residents of Brunswick County in 2014 revealed an alarming amounty of people with high blood pressure, cholestoral, diabetes, and adult obesity. Furthermore, almost three-quarter of the population cannot afford adequate healthcare.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has surveyed the eight-hundred and fifty acres to understand the best use and soil chemestry of the land. It is identified in the diagrams above where on the site are the wetlands, soil breakdowns, and use allocations accordingly.
Using the land as it is according to what nature has deposited there is a great step toward sustainability of the area. When looking at the land, one must consider the weather within the environment. While only four miles from the coast, the property is not in the flood plain but will be dependant on the sun, rain, and storms that hit the area. The diagrams on the next few pages indicates the yearly pattern of the weather as it relates to the three sytems we are employing for AGC.
In order to maximize the impact of AGC, the land allocation and connectivity of traditional development must be broken down and understood. In this same manner, understanding the connectivity of development that would follow the systems of CSA, LID, and PID would also need to be outlined.
Understanding the solid, clear connections along with the dashed possible connections help maximize the potential of the analysis. These relationships between the built environment, activities, and land are imparative to understand the big picture of possibilities that would impact not just the site, but the greater community and county as a whole.
From land allocation based on the USDA census and soil uses to the built environment and the activities that are possible within the site, a system emerges that has four areas that directly relate to eachother. The first hub is the agriculture center that includes the working barn and equipment. All the produce produced is then distributed to the residents, the market and commercial components. The research hub is a source of education and improvement on current agriculture and auquaculture as well as a draw for jobs, internships, and students to the area. The third hub is that of the commercial element that brings economic resources in the area but also utilizes the produce, research and education that is established on site. Lastly, the residential hub provides housing for people in the region. Retirees, students, temporary, and tourism is all accomodated under this hub which also feeds back into the other three hubs of the system.