About the Project
 
 

ARCHITECTURE IS INFRASTRUCTURE

 

THEREFORE it is an urban planning task to establish a resource efficient management system with circular approach to scale down the environmental impacts of the food industry. 

Project Abstract​

 

Having learnt more about the inefficient food supply chain and its lack of sustainability, we developed a food supply chain based on regional sources. As climatic and pandemic emergencies become more and more part of the futures and the present, the question arises, how to achieve a resilient food industry that is relying on local production and local consumption. There is enough food planted in Germany to supply all humans living in Germany. This makes it mostly a question of distribution. In order to establish an ecofriendly and reasonable regional food-supply-chain without years of planning and building, we made intensive use of the already existing infrastructure. Tracks and ware-houses in the rural areas as well as in the city are the key-elements together with the selling units placed at tram and bus stations all over the city. By uniting the partners from the various sections, a regional value chain is created. The project and its infratectural approach has the potential to start now and being adjusted to its growth during the next years. Its goal is not alone to create a regenerative agriculture and a healthier supply system for all participants and users but to make it autarkic and to stabilize it for upcoming threats.

Leitgedanken

 

 

To illustrate the key-words and vocabulary of our project, we illustrated them in a project alphabet 

In the beginning of the project, we synthesized our analysis of the current situation and illustrated it in a first string figure. To reduce the resulting complexness, we decided to focus on the food industry. It’s a system driven mostly by monetary interests, where climate, improving the waste management or extinguishing hunger usually play a rather insignificant role. 

To provide our approach with Raumwirksamkeit and to concretize our aim further, we investigated the food-supply-chain concerning Munich and the food industry in general. As we linked our existing knowledge with recently learnt – e.g. Germany exports more food as it imports - it became clear, that one strong and obvious solution lies within “going local” and taking advantage of already existing structures. And as more and more climatic and pandemic emergencies are becoming part of the futures and the present, the question arises, how to achieve a food industry that is relying on local production as well as on local consumption. The data on food industry we found, strengthened our idea that it is essential to re-think the distribution. There is enough food planted for everyone – also in Germany. 

As already stated in the preface, we consider infrastructure as the a method to establish a resource efficient management system to scale down the environmental impacts of the food industry. So we started to develop a local and circular food supply chain using already existing infrastructure. But we redefined them in an ecological friendly way to minimize the need for new buildings or reformation of the built environment but reaching for a maximized impact. 

While doing our research, it became explicit, that we cannot deal with the food industry in its entity. It is too big and too complex for project lasting a few weeks. So we focused on what grows in Germany, is produced and processed here – leaving aside the meat and dairy industries and the topic of (imported) exotic fruits and vegetables. 

In a next step, we had a closer look where the food is coming from. E.g., there are enough vegetables but there are not enough fruits planted in Bavaria to provide a full-scale coverage. But the area of Lake Constance in Baden-Württemberg is providing sufficient amounts of fruits, which get shipped to Munich. The best way to transport food is via railway. Tracks allow to connect regional products to the railway system and makes the DB Cargo an important partner. Within the city, we also take advantage of the existing transportation infrastructure to reach the highest areal coverage. To achieve this, the selling units are located at the stations. As they are becoming an important visual part of the city, it is mandatory to furnish them with a Corporate Identity. Another issue to focus on further are the ware-houses in the city. They have the potential of becoming a lot more than simple storage spaces. They have the possibilities of becoming economic and ecological hubs. 

To sum up, we’re not simply aiming at providing a regional food-supply-chain but also to include the tropes we have encountered during the process of this project. 

 

About the Project

 

Our current Situation, modified movie still from "La Grande Bellezza" by Paolo Sorrentino, 2013

The Corona Crisis discloses that shutdowns are currently our only answer to stop a pandemic from spreading too fast to cope with it. The lockdowns have brought many dilemmas to daily life. One such dilemma is the issue, how to guarantee the import and distribution of fresh food and groceries with a minimum of risk. In the attempt to limit physical contact between people, the supply of food is a weak link. Having experienced the vulnerability of the food system and learnt more about the inefficient food-supply-chain and its lack of sustainability, we developed a food-supply-chain based on regional sources. 

As emergencies – climatic and pandemic ones – become more and more part of the futures but also of the present, the question arises, how to achieve a food industry that is relying on local production and local consumption. As roughly speaking, there is enough food planted in Germany to supply all humans living in Germany, it is mostly a question of distribution. In order to establish an ecofriendly, sustainable and reasonable but also stressable regional food-supply-chain without wasting years with planning and building, we made intensive use of the already existing infrastructure. 

The majority of food grows and is processed in the rural areas, where knowledge, technology and capability exists. After the food’s harvesting and processing, it gets stored in ware-houses alongside of the tracks connected to the city. From there, the food is transported via tracks into the city ware-houses. The ware-houses are placed in a circle around the city and therefore provide ideal distribution centers for further inner-city distribution. With the various top-level public transports, the food gets further allocated to the selling units spread all over the city. To not disturb and interrupt everyday life and transportation circulation, this takes place during low frequency hours, when tracks and streets are mostly empty. The selling units are located at the various stations and cover most parts of Munich. This system grows with the extension of the public transportation network and aims at a 100% coverage in terms of reachability and supply. To bring the various sections of our proposed supply chain together, a crucial part is bringing together the various partners involved in the different episodes. 

The infratectural approach of this project has the potential to start now and being adjusted to its growth during the next years. It reduces the complexity and interests of the actual food-supply-chain and creates a local and circular value-chain. Its goal is not just to build a healthier system for all parties included, but to make it autarkic and to stabilize it for future threats. Having used Munich as a case study, this approach has the chance to be applied to many other cities. 

 

The Team

 

Cristiana Martinelli

Georg Meck

Konstantin Flöhl

Master Students TUM

Climate Emergency Munich

Urban Design Research non-Studio

SoSe2020

Professorship of Urban Design, TUM

Prof. Benedikt Boucsein

Elif Simge Fettahoglu

Daniel Zwangsleitner