From the summation of these previous steps, the basic form of organization of our urban tissue emerges; the Productive Block. The section reveals three layers of spatial experience – Productive Commons on the interior, Urban Corridors around the edges, and a permeable zone of dwellings, greenhouses and public mixing spaces, delimiting the two.

The Productive Block showing 3 distinct spatial zones.

Block Analysis

Comparing our block to a Manhattan block reveals some essential differences between the urban fabric generated by our food driven system and that of the modern land ownership model. A typical New York block is 270m x 80m. The long thin rectangle maximizes perimeter length (storefront exposure) at the sacrifice of interior area. Our generated block in comparison is similar in area to 2-3 NY blocks, but with much less surface area devoted to circulation. Instead of maximizing street-frontage, our system generates largely convex polygonal blocks, concentrating productive open space within.

A developer driven block (NYC) versus the Productive Block.

Recreational Network

In order to link the commons back to the city’s network of public spaces, parks/recreational nodes are allocated within the productive commons based on block size and number of residents. These are then linked together with new paths through the built clusters and primary paths, resulting in a quieter secondary circulatory network, as well as shared green space for residents of each block.

Recreational nodes connect Productive Commons into a secondary network.

Solar Optimization

Having identified clear concentrations of production, these areas can then prioritized for solar exposure by introducing a post-processing algorithm which limits building heights relative to proximity to productive area. The effect is a terracing of rooftop spaces around the commons with the tallest volumes lining the edges/streetscapes.

The building height algorithm further differentiates the spatial character of the interior and exterior of the productive block.

Solar analysis before and after, shows the change in solar exposure resulting from our redistribution algorithm. Analysis was run for two dates April 01 and June 21, using London as the location.

Solar Exposure before and after height redistribution.

Results are mapped to the three solar categories of crops (Mollison 1991). These are:

Zone 1 – Full Sun (8+ hrs) – tomatoes, peppers, most vegetables.

Zone 2 – Partial Sun (6-8 hrs) – root vegetables

Zone 3 – Partial Shade (3-6 hrs) – leafy greens

Results show a dramatic 157% increase of Full Sun in April and an 87% increase in June.