Circular City + Living Systems Lab

March 6, 2011

Urban Water: Re‐Introduction of Sustainable Water Cycles through Urban Agriculture

Conference paper in 99th ACSA Annual Meeting, Montreal, CA, 2011

New York City: Eagle Street Farm


Despite severe catastrophes cased by heat waves, droughts and desertification, global water problems have not yet penetrated into general consciousness. This study looks at the imbalance between the pressures on cities to provide their inhabitants with fresh water in contrast to the industrial agriculture’s wasteful water use. Emerging urban agricultural projects have the potential to operate as green infrastructure, which contributes to low impact water management as well as pioneers water efficient farming methods, even on the industrial scale. This investigation centers on three case studies located in regions faced with different degrees of water challenges in the United States. Besides their primary “tasks” of storm water mitigation, conservation of water resources, and reclamation of wastewater, respectively, the projects initiate an interconnected series of positive environmental effects and benefits for the water cycle. The main message to the allied fields of architecture and planning is to stop managing and engineering water out of our urban environments, and instead design places and mechanisms through which the powerful self‐regulating natural water cycle can re‐establish itself.


Proksch, Gundula. 2011. “Urban Water: Re‐Introduction of Sustainable Water Cycles through Urban Agriculture,” Where do you stand: Proceedings of the 99th ACSA Annual Meeting, Montreal, CA, March 3-6, (Washington, DC: ACSA Press, 2011), 739-749.