Spring 2022

Feeding Homo Urbanus: Landscapes of Agroecology in the City of ZurichLoukia Deli and Petra Pfaff

Nicht wer die Wohnung baut,
Nicht wer das Haus besitzt,
Sondern der, dem Grund und Boden gehört,
Der bestimmt den Aufbau unserer Städte.

Werner Taesler & Hans Bernoulli.
Die Stadt und ihr Boden. 1946.

In his book “Agriculture and Architecture: Taking the Country’s Side” Sébastien Marot believes that Architecture and Agriculture are twins that have simultaneously shaped the City throughout its history. Indeed, in the case of Zurich less than 100 years ago Agriculture and Architecture were twins of an equal standing. Roughly 3,400ha agricultural and 3,100ha built land made up the urban mosaic of Zurich. Following the second Eingemeindung (incorporation) of neighbouring settlements into the City in 1934 – forming the City’s shape and structure as we know today – each new community brought its specific characteristics to build a new urban identity for Zurich. The City’s borders have remained the same; its human population, however, has nearly doubled since 1934 and is expected to grow further in the next 20 years. Today the built land of Architecture already amounts to six times the size of Agriculture land in the City. Architecture and Agriculture are not twins anymore. Homo Urbanus needs space and takes space; but they also need to nourish themselves. Therefore we ask: where will Agriculture go?

All images are taken by Loukia Deli & Petra Pfaff unless mentioned otherwise.