Award Date

5-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Architecture (MArch)

Department

Architecture

First Committee Member

Janet White, Chair

Second Committee Member

Alfredo Fernandez-Gonzalez

Third Committee Member

Kevin Kemner

Graduate Faculty Representative

Melvin Jameson

Number of Pages

118

Abstract

High food prices, concern about food nutrition and safety, and an awareness of commercial farming's environmental impact have generated a renewed interest in sustainable urban agriculture. Advances in controlled environment agriculture (CEA) have made it possible to grow food virtually anywhere in a much more sustainable manner than traditional field-based agriculture. Locating and planning urban farms using retrofitted existing building stock to maximize food production and ease of distribution in Las Vegas requires consideration of multiple barriers related to geography, economics, and the built environment. Consideration of these factors in the planning process informs the design of a successful BIA facility.The site selection process for urban agriculture projects is critical to the project's long term sustainability, while the site's adaptation requirements directly influence start-up costs. Detailed analysis of the factors in these stages can therefore yield valuable initial viability and feasibility information. This thesis presents a planning strategy specifically for selecting an appropriate site and designing for building-integrated agriculture (BIA). First, a list of critical factors for a successful urban agriculture project is developed from the material discussed in the literature review and case studies. Next, a detailed site selection and analysis process is developed to provide insight into the adaptations needed to turn an underutilized building into a functional urban farm using new BIA technologies. The strategy is then applied to a chosen site in Las Vegas.

The developed planning process can be used as an assessment framework by potential investors, developers, entrepreneurial urban farmers, and others for planning and implementing a productive Las Vegas urban farm using existing building stock. The architect can use the developed strategy to inform the planning design phase and ensure a well-integrated and feasible project.

Keywords

Adaptive reuse; Alternative agriculture; Architecture; Building integrated agriculture; Buildings—Remodeling for other use; Greenhouse CEA; Nevada – Las Vegas; Planning; Sustainable agriculture; Sustainable development; Urban agriculture

Disciplines

Agriculture | Architecture | Environmental Design | Sustainability | Urban, Community and Regional Planning | Urban Studies and Planning

Language

English