sábado, 18 de maio

Growing food on site-built substrates

Download the International Cooperation Project here.
Coordinator:  Prof. Eduardo Grala da Cunha                      Academic Profile

From the perspective of Architecture, the process of greening urban spaces is one among many possible strategies to be adopted aiming sustainable practices. Greening the city means applying vegetative treatment to built surfaces through the use of plants adapted to local bioclimatic conditions. Vegetation is an extremely important element in the regulation and balance of extreme climatic conditions and influences comfort and energy consumption when it assumes control of direct solar radiation, humidity and air movement. The possibility of growing food can be added to this climate control role.

The growing of vegetables, condiments and medicinal herbs has been gaining the urban spaces of Brazilian cities. The trend, which also has supporters in international metropolises, is sometimes a consequence of the little time available for leisure. The cultivation of spices at home and/or in the urban environment becomes one of the few ways of contact with nature elements, characterized as Productive Landscaping.

Thus, the greening of cities can result in natural spaces within the urban centers, promoting comfort in two scales: the urban and built ones. On the other hand, the addition of vegetation for food consumption to built surfaces implies a multidisciplinary effort, as it responds technically to the choices made for suitable growing substrates, species adapted to different climates and, consequently, and for a constructive physics that can support food production.

This project seeks to increase international partnerships around this theme (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and the company Intemper in Spain, and the University of Lund, Sweden) by creating database on the present state of knowledge within the international arena and by producing growing guides for the built environment that meets different climatic regions, pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of the investigated solutions. Also, the works should bring information in regards to the energy performance of buildings and the climate of the urban space based on these vegetated surfaces.

In the field of engineering there are important initiatives carried out by UFPel in  collaboration with groups based in England, France, Sweden, Spain, Spain, the United States, Canada and Poland, such as the catalytic degradation of pollutants and the conversion of biomass to energy, which are aimed at strengthening.