During my pursuance in the architectural practice, I came about the concept of urban farming which is now getting more limelight in the major city like NYC, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Amsterdam and etc. Through the integration of IoT with advanced farming technology, urban farming is made possible which could fit into any available spaces in the city. This could largely reduce our dependency on having our food planted in a distanced, unknown farmland, which ultimately increases the food security of the city. Moreover, it is harder for us to find any fresh produce nowadays as the industry is heavily dependent on packaging and preservation so that the food can be sold in an appealing form.
On the other hand, in Penang, my hometown, I found that there are underutilized shops spaces especially the terrace shops. There are a few factors that caused such a situation:
- Location not strategic
- Accessibility problem for pedestrian and vehicles
- Relatively high rental
- Lack of diversity of usage
First of all, the location of such terrace shops usually is unfavorable due to poor planning strategy. Making the situation worse is that the accessibility to the shops is limited to the shops fronting the road and have minimal access and parking for the people. There is minimal pedestrian connectivity for such shops which leads to unlikely pedestrian flow. Furthermore, the locals have a limited idea on how to utilize the shops which ranging from offices, café, restaurants, and boutique hotels. Plus, the rental is relatively high in the town which made the already saturated hotel and F&B business a red ocean to be in.
So, the idea came by when I see these three elements: growing demand for healthier food choice from the consumer, promoting of urban farming from the local government and the underutilized shop spaces who owned by locals and foreigners. Acting as an urban farming planning consultant behind the scene, I would like to create a platform that could facilitate these three segments of people: consumer, farmer and property owner. In terms of value proposition, we provide consumer a wide range of healthy fresh produce available locally; a farmer or potential farmer to be an alternative to set up a smart farm in the city, and property owners to generate an income stream by utilizing the spaces through urban farming.
The platform will be running on DApp (decentralized application) format which will also extend to web-based usage. Within the platform, there will be its own token that supports the ecosystem which allows different transactions like acquiring produce, paying rent, buying equipment, paying bills and so on. Besides, the platform will have a collection of different spectrum of data like urban farm location, productivity, food variety, farm condition, business transaction and so on. To pull this off, it will require collaboration between different parties to form a vehicle to work this out.
The ultimate aim is to make the app become a real-time library to track for fresh food for the consumer, a form of food security meter for the city and a new way to farm for the farmers. Besides, this also will improve the value of the properties that are previously underutilized and evolve into another form of the prime area which then help the owners to earn more revenue. From the perspective of the local government, it will also improve the local GDP as this will create a whole new industry for the city with an innovative way to utilize the resources from the city.
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