Design for Communities
Karim Najjar, Sarah Rita Kattan
Farah Khaled, Mohamad Jaroudi, Mounira Halabi, Rowana Maged
Arc en Ciel, Chiyah Municipality
The project aims to provide an inclusive urban garden for environmental and social justice in the Chiyah district in Beirut. It responds to the need to empower women in the area through providing facilities to grow their own food.
The design is made up of a linear series of 16 user-friendly and modular farming units made of a prefabricated red-coated scaffolding system. Women can engage in growing herbs and vegetables and interact socially with the community. The scaffolding system can be adjusted and customized according to the needs of each user, optimizing local agricultural production in urban gardens.
Each unit provides a demarcated space where two women can grow their herbs and vegetables in fabric planters installed vertically on two sides of the unit, while a work top and a storage shelf were installed near the unit entrance. The scaffolding system can be easily adjusted and customized according to the needs of each user, their height, accessibility and the crops they plant. The unit space allows all users, including wheelchair users, to get close enough to the planters to work comfortably. Each vertical farming unit is identified from the main passage by hanging pots and a signage customized by its operators, reinforcing its identity and the users’ ownership of their agricultural space within the city.
The textile planters can be installed on the various sides of the unit depending on the required sun orientation for the various types of crops. The HDPE perforated fabric planters are lightweight, easily installed, durable and UV resistant. They allow the soil to breathe, water to drain, and retain humidity while blocking the sun, thus preventing weeds from growing. This encourages healthy root growth in plants and a faster production of vegetables.
The same scaffolding structure is used to create shaded common areas where all engaged women in this activity can work together on their agricultural products, interact with each other and bond as a community.