Within Reach

Competition: Vertical Cities Asia 2013 Everyone Harvests
Date: May-June 2013
Duration: 6 weeks
Team: Aly Andrews, Laura Weaver, Enesh Easlick
Role: Presenter, Urban Planner, large-scale planning

Presented in July 2013 in Singapore before:
Kazuyo Sejima, SANAA;
Allison WilliamsVice President and Director of Design, AECOM;
Dickson Despommier, Professor, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Columbia University;
Peter Head, Director and Head, Global Planning of Arup;
Jeffrey Ho, Managing Director, Surbana International Consultants


High density development and food production are usually seen as conflicting uses. We don’t believe that, and instead are focusing on how they can complement each other through proximity.

Typically when a city grows, it begins to sprawl and consumes agricultural land. What we are proposing is densifying the new urban land and surrounding agricultural land to not only house and employ more people, but to increase urban food production.

Our design is called “Within Reach.” It calls for an increase in proximity of food production to the consumer. We believe this is beneficial since it will reduce energy consumption, help transition the rural population into the urban environment, educate consumers about food production, and foster a sense of community.

We chose to develop east of the highway just as the Hanoi 2050 master plan already plans to. However, we are planning to develop the area at 5x the density on 1/5th of the land. This gives us a 200% increase in food production.

Our design proposal consists of 4 parts: preserved agricultural land, hyper-productive agricultural land, existing villages, and dense pockets of new urban development.

Farmers are often displaced by new development. Within Reach offers a design that not only accommodates these farmers, but views them as an asset. The existing villages already function as a strong social community and have the harvesting skills necessary to make Within Reach a viable option. We will preserve rural villages, reducing the need to displace and relocate farmers. We then develop 2 sqkm of dense urban pockets between these villages. These urban pockets are organized vertically to free up land for agricultural use. The new development will give the farmers direct proximity to the urban consumer without dramatically changing their lifestyle.

The remaining 9 sqkm of agricultural land east of the highway already has plans for development through the Hanoi master plan by 2050. Since this land will be developed anyway, we view this as an opportunity to densify the land in a new way, forming a new agricultural farming type where new farming technologies can be explored. Our goal is that these new technologies and typologies we have created will meet the food demand of residents in the new urban pockets.