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Agri & Gardening rooftop garden  sustainable urban agriculture | Upload General

Rooftop Garden: Sustainable Urban Agriculture

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by: Sharai Hoekema
rooftop garden  sustainable urban agriculture | Upload

Thammasat University in Thailand just made headlines with a concept that will have you read it three times before getting a slight notion of what it actually is. The largest urban rooftop farm in Asia. Say again? An urban rooftop farm. On top of one of the most famous universities in the world.

Climate Change Threat To South Asia

The South Asian region as a whole is fearing the potential effects of climate change. As their rates of industrialisation and urbanisation have exploded in recent decades, so have their emissions and their carbon footprint. In particular the mass production of rice has exhausted large areas of land, that are now vulnerable to flooding and pests - something becoming increasingly common as the weather becomes more extreme, with extended periods of drought or floods.



                            University near Thai capital Bangkok is home to one of Asia’s largest rooftop farms

This is why the Thammasat University embarked on this prestigious project, aimed to show how climate resiliency can be created by converting land using advanced landscape architecture and the best of the country’s past agricultural traditions. Sprawled out over some 22,000 square meters in the heart of Bangkok, the initiative combines modern landscaping with some good ol’ agricultural tricks. It all comes together in a green roof, urban farm, solar roof and all around green public space.

Recommended: Asia’s Water War: Is The Mekong Still A River?

Multifunctional Roof Area

The floor plan of the underlying buildings are shaped like an ‘H’, a form that has been taken over by the garden. Furthermore, the different levels create the illusion of a mountain-y form, that includes large green patches and rice-field like terraces. Besides looking great, it also serves as a large organic food source through the produce it grows, as well as a water management system that captures rainwater as it falls down, and an energy-house through its use of solar panels.

Recommended: Coronavirus: Real-Time Laboratory For Urban Life

rooftop garden arial photo

Lastly, but definitely not least, it serves as a large outdoor classroom. A place where groups and classes gather and, in doing so, become more aware of the dangers of global warming and easy solutions that can help mitigate some of its worst effects. 

Recommended: Urban Agriculture Growing Food On A Rooftop

An Urban Safe Haven

A great concept that is definitely not getting enough credit. It looks simple but is ingenious, in that it combines all of its functions to boost the overall health and wellbeing of the area. For instance, the water flowing down the lawns is stored and re-used to water the fields and grow food. Any leftover water is filtered and led to one of four retention ponds, which are basically a back-up in case of drought.

people, path, garden

The rooftop has been planted with some of the most original native plants, guaranteed to create a microclimate of its own that draws in large amounts of pollinator birds and insects. As such, it has become a safe heaven for many animals that have found themselves crowded and endangered by the growing city with its enormous amounts of pollution.

Recommended: Green Urban Sustainable Project: Marine One In Singapore

Organic And Regenerative

It is not just an organic farm, it is also a regenerative one. It does not take from the land or its resources in any way, instead using what is available and giving back to create more. The result is not just a great space to relax and wind down in, but also a much needed organic food source and a great outdoor learning space for those wanting to find out more about agriculture or the environment as a whole.

people, rooftop garden, plants

Thailand is a country known for its extensive use of pesticides. In fact, the country ranks in the top 5 pesticide importers worldwide. Not only damaging to the environment, but also to the foods produced. The Thammasat University Green Roof is not using any pesticides or fertilisers, relying on age-old techniques for keeping the crops safe and thriving instead. And as the crops thrive and plants flourish, they will eventually become a valuable asset in removing pollution from the atmosphere.

Recommended: Regenerative Agriculture: Basics For Safe Food (Part 1 of 3)

Harnessing Sunlight And Heat

Another thing that Thailand is well-known for, is for its heat. Especially in the big city, it can get really, really warm. Bangkok has a lot of skyscrapers and concrete buildings, a material that is known to absorb sunlight and reflect it to its environment. This does not only make the city hotter, it is also a waste of space - quite literally.

If only all of these concrete roofs would house solar panels, it would generate heaps of green energy that can be put to good use. The energy generated by this roof is stored for use elsewhere. As the green roof is a great insulator and isolator, that naturally cools both the inside and the outside of the building, its net savings of energy are even greater. 

Recommended: Agrivoltaics: Food, Water, Energy At Its Best

Organic Food Production

Going even further, like Thammasat did, and combining those solar panels with organic food lands, will only serve to showcase its potential. The green roof produces about 135,000 rice meals per year, which are used to fed its community. The green canteen of the university does a great job at showing how impactful the effect of eating locally can be: the costs of production, processing, packaging, transportation and disposal are minimised at each step of the way.

people, rice, plants

All leftover food is recycled straight back into the farm, as it is composted and used as an organic fertiliser for the next harvest. All in all, emissions are cut and a near-perfect regenerative model is used.

Teaching The Way Forward

All year round, the university gives workshops and lectures on agriculture, urban farming and sustainability to anyone willing to listen. This way, they educate their environment as much as they serve them - in doing so hopefully preserving some of the precious traditional agriculture practices of the country. These are passed on to the students as well, as they farm the land and learn about the fine balance between environment and food production. 

And hopefully, just hopefully, these students will take the knowledge home to implement it elsewhere. This is where a ball can really start rolling, if the number of people aware of and adept in sustainable farming practices share their knowledge with other communities. 

Thammasat’s green roof can be the kickstarter of a movement where people will understand how Thailand’s current rice farming practices are damaging the environment and how the industry can be transformed into a regenerative one. It may be just in time to turn the tide.

Rooftop Garden, Thammasat University, Rangsit Campus Bangkok: Info

  • Thammasat University, Rangsit Campus
  • Location | Bangkok, Thailand
  • Building Type |  Multi-Purpose Building with the Biggest Urban Farming Green Roof in Asia
  • Project Owner | Thammasat University
  • Landscape Designer and greenroof design | LANDPROCESS (Kotchakorn Voraakhom) 
  • Architect | Arsom Silp Institute Of The Arts
    Structural Engineer | Degree System Co., Ltd
    System Engineer | TPM Consultants Co., Ltd
    Contractor | CM49

  • Project Information
    Green Roof Area: 22,000 sq. m. (236,806 sq. ft)
    Urban Farming Area: 7,000 sq. m. (75,300 sq. ft) 32%
    Solar Roof Area 3,565 sq. m. (38,373 sq. ft.) 16%
    Public Space Area 7,000 sq. m. (75,300 sq. ft.) 32%
    Service and Utility 4,435 sq. m. (47,738 sq. ft.) 20%
    Building Area: 60,000 sq. m (645,840 sq. ft.)

Before you go!

Recommended: Algae Canopy Miracle Works Better Than A Forrest: How?

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Rooftop Garden: Sustainable Urban Agriculture

Thammasat University in Thailand just made headlines with a concept that will have you read it three times before getting a slight notion of what it actually is. The largest urban rooftop farm in Asia. Say again? An urban rooftop farm. On top of one of the most famous universities in the world. Climate Change Threat To South Asia The South Asian region as a whole is fearing the potential effects of climate change. As their rates of industrialisation and urbanisation have exploded in recent decades, so have their emissions and their carbon footprint. In particular the mass production of rice has exhausted large areas of land, that are now vulnerable to flooding and pests - something becoming increasingly common as the weather becomes more extreme, with extended periods of drought or floods. {youtube}                             University near Thai capital Bangkok is home to one of Asia’s largest rooftop farms This is why the Thammasat University embarked on this prestigious project, aimed to show how climate resiliency can be created by converting land using advanced landscape architecture and the best of the country’s past agricultural traditions. Sprawled out over some 22,000 square meters in the heart of Bangkok, the initiative combines modern landscaping with some good ol’ agricultural tricks. It all comes together in a green roof, urban farm, solar roof and all around green public space. Recommended:  Asia’s Water War: Is The Mekong Still A River? Multifunctional Roof Area The floor plan of the underlying buildings are shaped like an ‘H’, a form that has been taken over by the garden. Furthermore, the different levels create the illusion of a mountain-y form, that includes large green patches and rice-field like terraces. Besides looking great, it also serves as a large organic food source through the produce it grows, as well as a water management system that captures rainwater as it falls down, and an energy-house through its use of solar panels. Recommended:  Coronavirus: Real-Time Laboratory For Urban Life Lastly, but definitely not least, it serves as a large outdoor classroom. A place where groups and classes gather and, in doing so, become more aware of the dangers of global warming and easy solutions that can help mitigate some of its worst effects.   Recommended:  Urban Agriculture Growing Food On A Rooftop An Urban Safe Haven A great concept that is definitely not getting enough credit. It looks simple but is ingenious, in that it combines all of its functions to boost the overall health and wellbeing of the area. For instance, the water flowing down the lawns is stored and re-used to water the fields and grow food. Any leftover water is filtered and led to one of four retention ponds, which are basically a back-up in case of drought. The rooftop has been planted with some of the most original native plants, guaranteed to create a microclimate of its own that draws in large amounts of pollinator birds and insects. As such, it has become a safe heaven for many animals that have found themselves crowded and endangered by the growing city with its enormous amounts of pollution. Recommended:  Green Urban Sustainable Project: Marine One In Singapore Organic And Regenerative It is not just an organic farm, it is also a regenerative one. It does not take from the land or its resources in any way, instead using what is available and giving back to create more. The result is not just a great space to relax and wind down in, but also a much needed organic food source and a great outdoor learning space for those wanting to find out more about agriculture or the environment as a whole. Thailand is a country known for its extensive use of pesticides. In fact, the country ranks in the top 5 pesticide importers worldwide. Not only damaging to the environment, but also to the foods produced. The Thammasat University Green Roof is not using any pesticides or fertilisers, relying on age-old techniques for keeping the crops safe and thriving instead. And as the crops thrive and plants flourish, they will eventually become a valuable asset in removing pollution from the atmosphere. Recommended:  Regenerative Agriculture: Basics For Safe Food (Part 1 of 3) Harnessing Sunlight And Heat Another thing that Thailand is well-known for, is for its heat. Especially in the big city, it can get really, really warm. Bangkok has a lot of skyscrapers and concrete buildings, a material that is known to absorb sunlight and reflect it to its environment. This does not only make the city hotter, it is also a waste of space - quite literally. If only all of these concrete roofs would house solar panels, it would generate heaps of green energy that can be put to good use. The energy generated by this roof is stored for use elsewhere. As the green roof is a great insulator and isolator, that naturally cools both the inside and the outside of the building, its net savings of energy are even greater.   Recommended:  Agrivoltaics: Food, Water, Energy At Its Best Organic Food Production Going even further, like Thammasat did, and combining those solar panels with organic food lands, will only serve to showcase its potential. The green roof produces about 135,000 rice meals per year, which are used to fed its community. The green canteen of the university does a great job at showing how impactful the effect of eating locally can be: the costs of production, processing, packaging, transportation and disposal are minimised at each step of the way. All leftover food is recycled straight back into the farm, as it is composted and used as an organic fertiliser for the next harvest. All in all, emissions are cut and a near-perfect regenerative model is used. Teaching The Way Forward All year round, the university gives workshops and lectures on agriculture, urban farming and sustainability to anyone willing to listen. This way, they educate their environment as much as they serve them - in doing so hopefully preserving some of the precious traditional agriculture practices of the country. These are passed on to the students as well, as they farm the land and learn about the fine balance between environment and food production.   And hopefully, just hopefully, these students will take the knowledge home to implement it elsewhere. This is where a ball can really start rolling, if the number of people aware of and adept in sustainable farming practices share their knowledge with other communities.   Thammasat’s green roof can be the kickstarter of a movement where people will understand how Thailand’s current rice farming practices are damaging the environment and how the industry can be transformed into a regenerative one. It may be just in time to turn the tide. Rooftop Garden, Thammasat University, Rangsit Campus Bangkok: Info Thammasat University, Rangsit Campus Location | Bangkok, Thailand Building Type |  Multi-Purpose Building with the Biggest Urban Farming Green Roof in Asia Project Owner | Thammasat University Landscape Designer and greenroof design | LANDPROCESS (Kotchakorn Voraakhom)  Architect | Arsom Silp Institute Of The Arts Structural Engineer | Degree System Co., Ltd System Engineer | TPM Consultants Co., Ltd Contractor | CM49 Project Information Green Roof Area: 22,000 sq. m. (236,806 sq. ft) Urban Farming Area: 7,000 sq. m. (75,300 sq. ft) 32% Solar Roof Area 3,565 sq. m. (38,373 sq. ft.) 16% Public Space Area 7,000 sq. m. (75,300 sq. ft.) 32% Service and Utility 4,435 sq. m. (47,738 sq. ft.) 20% Building Area: 60,000 sq. m (645,840 sq. ft.) Before you go! Recommended:  Algae Canopy Miracle Works Better Than A Forrest: How? Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about sustainability? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
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