TH Köln is funding the KISD project »Refarm the City - Urban Food Production for a Sustainable and Resilient City« of the master students Jule Schacht, David Sieverding and Martin Sistig. With the Transfer Fund, the TH Köln supports transdisciplinary teaching and research projects that create links between society and the university. Students deal with current research topics and develop questions, methods and designs together with partners and professors. A public lecture on "Refarm the City" will take place on October 31, 2023 at 7 p.m. in the Haus der Architektur Köln.

»Refarm the City« is a teaching and research project on sustainable food production in the city, carried out by students Jule Schacht, David Sieverding and Martin Sistig in cooperation with the Haus der Architektur Köln e.V. and the YMCA Köln e.V. in the winter semester 2023/24. »Refarm the City« is based on David Sieverding’s and Martin Sistig’s BA thesis of the same name in the area of expertise »Design Theory and Research« (Prof. Dr. Carolin Höfler) and will be deepened in the master’s program »Integrated Design Research« together with Jule Schacht.

As sites of the edible city, the study focuses on Cologne’s large courtyards, which were created by perimeter block development in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and are particularly well suited for transformation into urban kitchen and community gardens. Most courtyards are developed, neglected, and often forgotten spaces in the city that serve as dumping grounds for waste. »Refarm the City« is dedicated to the systematic study and transformation of these courtyards into spaces of possibility for a new urbanity, opening up alternative forms of participation in the city and society. The courtyard in Cologne’s Neustadt-Nord, surrounded by the buildings of Hansaring, Lübecker Straße, Maybachstraße and Sudermannstraße, serves as a temporary »real city lab«. At the same time, it is used by the YMCA Cologne (CVJM Köln e.V.) as a club headquarters and by the Tafel Köln – Distributing instead of Destroying! (Tafel Köln – Verteilen statt vernichten! e.V.) as a food distribution center.

»Refarm the City« follows an urban and eco-social principle that promotes self-sufficiency, biodiversity and social impact. It challenges the separation of food production in the countryside and consumption in the city. »Refarm the City« is a way to integrate food production into cities, making them more resilient and independent of the effects of climate change. Edible urban greenery helps to regulate the urban climate, improve the quality of urban living and communication, and create new habitats for animals and plants. At the same time, growing, harvesting, processing and eating together promotes the formation of close-knit communities and exchanges between different social milieus. »Refarm the City« invites the creation of a common good (agri)cultural network in the city that both promotes social interaction and cooperation through shared learning in urban gardens and creates structures that positively influence urban microclimates and ecosystems.

The Haus der Architektur Köln has invited the students to present their project to the public on October 31, 2023 at 7 p.m. in the Kubus in the Josef-Haubrich-Hof. In November 2023, public city walks will follow, in which the students will discuss the concept of the Edible City with interested citizens. In the cooperation with the YMCA Cologne, a special focus will be on the preservation and rediscovery of community-building traditions and local forms of knowledge related to the cultivation of food, its processing, fermentation and preservation. This local tacit knowledge will be made accessible in participatory workshops. Finally, the findings will be translated into recommendations for action for a sustainable and resilient city and presented for discussion in an exhibition.

»Refarm the City« is accompanied by the TH research center »Real-Time City« and the cooperation project »Open Universities« of the TH Cologne and the University of Cologne. It also takes place in exchange with the Faculty of Architecture of the TH Cologne within the framework of the new cooperative degree program »Spatial Strategies«.

The bachelor thesis of the same name by David Sieverding and Martin Sistig in Design Theory and Research (Prof. Dr. Carolin Höfler) has been nominated for the Cologne Design Award 2023.

Public Talk
Date: October 31, 2023, 7:00 p.m.
Venue: Haus der Architektur Köln – Verein zur Förderung von Architektur und Städtebau e.V., Josef-Haubrich-Hof 2 (Cube), 50676 Cologne.

Drawings and photographs: David Sieverding and Martin Sistig
Postcard: Peach walls in Montreuil-sous-Bois, early 20th century (Creative Commons Wiki)