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Trends – guidelines that set transformations not just in fashion, but also in urban developments. One of the major, global urban trends that emerged in cities for the past years is urban farming. It seems that more and more people feel the need to produce their own food again, yet that proves difficulties in highly urbanised areas. Although abandoned plots offer the possibility for urban farming, their availability differs from one city to another. As such, the question arises, what do all cities have in common when we look at the urban space? The DakAkker, in Rotterdam, is one of the examples of the answer: rooftop farms.

The answer to alternative, urban farms required us not to look around, but look up, all the way to the top. Considering the increase of urbanisation, building rooftops pose viable solutions for urban farming. Starting as an utopian, photoshop collage, the idea of rooftop farms became more and more popular. As such, cities started to experiment with this concept, to see how it can transform into practice. Now rooftop farms emerge as a real alternative, making the cities greener from above.

In Rotterdam, DakAkker was the city’s first rooftop farm. As part of the 5th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, the architecture collective ZUS reclaimed an old building in the centre of the city and experimented with the concept of rooftop urban farming. DakAkker was part of a Test Site project for the Schieblock building, in which new urban alternatives were proposed for old buildings. The urban farm is focused on producing vegetables and herbs, and houses a small apiculture area as well, all the final products heading to local restaurants.


The goal behind DakAkker is not that complicated. Alternative solutions, such as rooftop farming, turn downtown Rotterdam into an area that produces more than consumer goods and architecture, but is also a source of fresh produce for the city. DakAkker is not unique on a global scale, rooftop faming being a major trend in cities nowadays, yet it represented a novelty for the city of Rotterdam.

©Karin Oppelland

Taking into account the rapid transformations undergone by Rotterdam, the second-most-important city in the Netherlands, alternative solutions, such as the DakAkker, underline the aspect that a successful city is built on more than technology or infrastructure. A city focused on alternative means of food production, on developing a ‘green city system’ for the environment and its citizens, that is the city of the future, and Rotterdam is taking a step towards it.

Watch the video below to see the transformation from above.

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