Eindhoven University of Technology | Thesis Project
Supervisors: prof. dr. ir. Bauke de Vries, ir. Maarten Willems, ir. Tom Veeger


This graduation project was conducted in the Smart living studio in the Faculty of the Built Environment in TU/e. In this project, urban agriculture is suggested as a possible way of improving the urban quality of life and home farming in the urban houses is proposed as a way of establishing smart living. This idea is implemented in a Dutch middle-class row house in a creative and sustainable way and the design is proposed for the area of Woensel- West in Eindhoven.The site of the project is in the heart of Woensel-West in Eindhoven and its borders are defined by the streets Celsiusstraat, Brugmanstraat, Fahrenheitstraat, and the Celsiusplein. Its position in the area is important, as it stands at the end of Edisonstraat, one of the major streets in the area.The project is structured with a view to achieving two main intended results: Firstly, the implementation of the small and bigger scale activities of urban agriculture in the urban house with the use of new technological advances. Secondly, the provision of a better quality of life to residents of cities in two dimensions; psychologically, by the improvement of the social life of the residents, and physically, by the provision of a healthier nutrition. In this way, the urban houses will provide their residents with fresh food and encourage them to develop better interpersonal relationships at a family and communal level.


The project is based on the concept of Urban Agriculture (UA) and is outlined in three scales of design; the block, the housing unit, and the technological systems used. The block scale describes the complete design of a block in the heart of Woensel-West and its main objective is to create a communal and a public core that both contribute to its development. The housing unit is designed upon the principles of the row-housing typology and can be built in every city in the Netherlands or abroad. Finally, the technological systems scale aims at the creative implementation of the existing Urban Agriculture systems in the design. Urban agriculture activities appear in all the designed scales. The users take advantage of growing and eating their own fruit and vegetables, get together, and develop a community under the scope of agriculture.In order to make the idea of living in an agricultural environment even more appealing, the activities around agriculture do not burden the users financially, as all scales are designed in such a way that they can provide their users with a self-sufficient and sustainable production.All scales are equipped with a system of areas that is called “the battery”. This is because its design is in fact based upon the working principles of a real battery; it produces and saves all the energy needed for the UA systems to work and delivers it in the way and at the time required. The mechanical systems that support the agriculture activities in all scales are placed in these areas which are interconnected in order to achieve optimal energy provision for the project.

The design

The design proposes a block where the public, the collective, and the private sectors function under the scope of urban agriculture. The block aims to work as a model for the further development of the neighborhood. These sectors are connected but they are also separate in order to serve the users’ needs best. Living or passing by the block will be a new experience in the urban fabric.The basic concept of the block scale is the creation of a pedestrian road that crosses the block as an extension of the Edisonstraat with all functions developing on and around it. The public and collective batteries are designed across this street, while the houses are placed on the two long sides facing northeast and southwest. The difference in the levels of the sectors is the way that the borders between them are formed. The house units are designed in a strict way, so as to be able to use the same design in other blocks too, while the public sector is freer and site specific.The public road is forming a route through the block that allows people to get informed on UA activities, observe, shop, eat, relax, socialize and have fun through urban agriculture. Its shape is based on the orientation of the greenhouses that lie alongside it and follows a crooked pattern, with a view to offering different views for the visitors that walk on them.In parallel with the public sector, the collective one is also developed in the interior of the block. Set in -1.00m., the collective area consists of greenhouses, storage rooms, gathering points, gardens and water tanks.As far as the houses are concerned, the basic idea pervading their design is the satisfaction of the family members’ need to come together, express themselves while eating and get satisfaction by growing their own food. The two house types are developed by the synthesis of the eating, leisure, relaxing/working, sleeping areas and the “battery”. Their design implements the UA activities in the daily life by employing the latest technological advances, bring their inhabitants closer to the natural environment, provide them with a healthier nutrition and – by design – tackle the problem of family alienation in the house.The role of the systems that support the urban agriculture activities in the block and housing units, as well as the ones that support the energy circles conservation is crucial. In this project, home acts as a machine which filters, processes, recycles and produces. For the UA activities, aquaponics, fungiculture and urban beekeeping systems are used. For the sustainability of the project, rainwater harvesting, wastewater treatment, composting and photovoltaics systems are installed.


Urban agriculture is widely recognized as a way of achieving urban regeneration and its positive effect on the inhabitants’ nutrition and quality of life is indisputable.The inhabitants and the visitors of this block are given the chance to meet, talk and socialize, while taking part in all UA activities, from the educational procedure, to the act of farming and eating, in both family and community contexts. At the same time, innovative technological systems are designed and employed in a creative way with a view to playing an assistant role in the production and contributing to a better, user-friendly design.However, this was only a first attempt to create a neighborhood that is based on UA in so many ways. This project can serve as the starting point for further discussion and genuine proposals that could work even in a bigger scale than this single block.