Growing neighbourhoods. Growing fresh seasonal produce on the verge of the suburban neighbourhood is as a catalyst to encourage people to engage in the life of the neighbourhood. It results in social and environmentally sustainable suburban outcomes.

The idea is informed by significant research undertaken by the pilot - URBAN FOOD STREET. URBAN FOOD STREET is autonomous from government and now it its seventh year of producing fresh seasonal produce for the neighbourhood to share.

Already operating as an award-winning pilot the proposal is to use the learnings from the pilot model. The model will be applied to the larger context to retrofit existing suburban landscapes, creating URBAN FOOD STREET(s) right around the country. Suburban Australia never looked so sustainable! It is an all inclusive holistic model, its benefits extend beyond the singular sustainability criteria.

URBAN FOOD STREET is Australia's only integrated edible suburban neighbourhood, growing commercial quantities of seasonal spray-free fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices on the suburban verge. Created, funded and implemented independently it is essentially a model for sustainable urban occupation. The model is 100% self-funded. Bottom up, is autonomous to the Urban Food Street neighbourhood.

Understood as urban agriculture the pilot neighbourhood consists of eleven residential streets, six of those streets now grow commercial quantities of fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices in the public domain. We do this along the suburban verge, in the middle of sprawling suburbia.

Fresh spray-free produce is distributed back to the neighbourhood in food miles that are literally measured in steps. It is distributed through a two tier system - urban foraging and urban distribution.

Informed by some of the worlds greatest thinkers in urban thought, design and planning, the greater context is defined not by a sprawling periphery, requiring endless demand on severely depleted resources but by self-sufficient networks that operate as neighbourhoods. Each network is defined by a sustainable boundary, environmentally, socially and economically. Each is defined by its own identity and for all intensive purposes produces for its own needs. As individual networks they operative without draining the resources of the surrounding system, yet each contributes equally to the overall sustainability of the whole. Together they combine to produce a powerful outcome that understands both habitability and human interaction. An outcome that is both environmentally and socially sustainable.

Taking sustainability criteria which are traditionally only applied to the singular built form, and applying these to existing suburban territories, the model creates sustainable suburban neighbourhoods. Sustainability is measured both socially and environmentally, resulting in diverse suburban outcomes for future generations to enjoy and thrive.

Public space represent community, it is the presentation of a society’s ideas. Ideas that operate within the constraints of dwindling resources and growing population. Never has there been a more urgent time in history where we need to consider critically the way we occupy our suburban setting and what we do with the public resources that are available to all of us.

A social media video of the URBAN FOOD STREET neighbourhood was so popular that it had over 2 million views. You can see the video here https://www.facebook.com/abcnews.au/videos/10155029440674988/

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