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Urban ‘home farm’ for Singapore’s ageing population

Signal of change / Urban ‘home farm’ for Singapore’s ageing population

By Harriet Trefusis / 21 Jan 2015

Singapore’s rapidly ageing population has prompted SPARK Architects to design a complex for senior people, which also functions as an urban farm. The concept is designed to deliver suitable accommodation, whilst at the same time providing the residents with social engagement, active pursuits, extra income and, importantly, food.

Although Singapore used to be highly agricultural, over 90% food is now imported with the growth of the city and urbanisation. By 2030, over 20% of the population will be over 65, the age of retirement. SPARK’s solution aims to address both food security and the cost of feeding an elderly population.

The farm would be run by a ‘professional implementation team’ who would oversee three farming operations: an aquaponics-based vertical farm, a soil-based raised farm, and a ‘traditional’ soil-based farm. These would be located around the complex on facades, rooftops and in the grounds. The residents would not be required or expected to carry out work on the farm; however they would have the option of paying part of their fees through the work carried out.

There are 300 residential units, with some two bed apartments and multigenerational living areas. There are central facilities in the design, including a farmers market, organic supermarket, agricultural centre, library, social centre and healthcare facilities. The proposal is environmentally friendly, with features like a biomass boiler using the waste products from the farming and collecting rainwater.

Image credits: SPARK Architects

So what?


This concept has been designed expressly to raise questions about state provision for an ageing population and solutions to food security. There are concerns about the suitability of the labour required for older people. Could involvement in urban farming and other community activities become a qualifying factor for care?

What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

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