Green Agora © Goethe-Institut Singapur

Green Agora

By Calvin Chua
The current pandemic and climate emergency have catapulted food security to the forefront of policy making. With food supply chain disruptions in both developing and developed countries, the agritech sector is poised to experience an accelerated growth to ensure food security.

This has great impact on the ‘smart city’ narrative, shifting from superficial sensor-enabled accessories to resolving more pressing issues of food security through high-tech urban farming. While moving forward in the right direction, it also results in a parallel growth track of high-tech industrial farms and community-led farming initiatives. The former thrives on an efficient mechanised system with minimal workers, while the latter thrives on the gathering of volunteers. An inherent gap exists between the high-tech large scale farming industry and the community farms on the ground.

Within the framework of food production and nature, how can we bridge the gap between the technocracy of the ‘smart city’ and the everyday spaces that we live in?

The Green Agora pavilion was conceived at the height of the pandemic in 2020 as a space for community dialogue on nature, food and farming. Designed as a living structure, the pavilion allows native plants to grow on its modular aluminium structure and steel meshes. Combining experimentation in construction and growing techniques, Green Agora embodies a new type of nature-oriented public space.

The Green Agora is both a statement and a prototype. The project situates itself along the convergent trajectories of industry and community, crisis and lifestyle: Post-COVID realities engender spiking fears of food security and an eagerness to organically manage wellness, while the currents of sustainable living continue to rise.