Cross Strategies

Enhanced Mobility Along and Across Functional Zones


The Team





The Quest

Since 1970s, the Greater Bay Area has been undergoing unprecedented urban growth, which has resulted in an exponential increase in urban extents. The GBA’s rapid and unregulated growth in the GBA is a sign of its attempts to cope with the massive influx of capitals from both the region and the globe, making it a major global manufacturing power-house. However, this development can potentially lead to a condition known as “subnature”, as proposed by Timothy Morton, which describes an undesirable and unpredicted by-product of urbanization. Together with the urban and rural condition, this project addresses the concern of food security, in terms of production & consumption and 4As, namely affordability, accessibility, adequacy and availability, and use the given tool, the cross, as a morphological strategy to shape the environment and transform the food provisioning system. The morphological cross imprint represents the creation of a foodscape within the built and unbuilt environment. The project would lead to the development of a repertoire of complementary facilities of a contrasting nature. Pressure in overcrowded areas is deflated by the creation of natural voids, while low-key areas are intensified by the construction of high-intensity agriculture centers. Eventually, the proposed strategy will answer the current food production scarcity with a more intensified/effective ‘system of nature’.


The Game

The first iteration

The first iteration attributes the cross with two characteristics: the sizes and colors. The two colors are used to represent the complementary relationship of urban and rural just like the solid and void do. A subset of manipulations of the crosses is developed in form of additive and subtractive strategies. The cross in this iteration acts as a basic unit to form a network of urbanization in rural area and de-urbanization in urban areas. The point is to question the traditional way of urbanization by clustering and zoning. If networking and access are the key in the age of information, can we shift the paradigm of urban design to branching and network-based methodology?

The second iteration

 In this iteration, the intersections of the crosses are annotated with either a green or a black block as a way to addressing what transformation can be induced by de-urbanizing the existing urban fabrics. The black blocks on the intersection of the tip of the cross are expected to create an infrastructural linkage while the central points of the crosses and can be developed into agro-related programs or amenities such as community farms and agricultural parks.

The third iteration

The concept in this iteration is extended from the complementary prosperity of the urban and the rural. The existing map is used as a “material” to construct both urban and rural areas to explore the possibility of design using existing fabrics and patterns.

Extending from the proposition of the urban and rural condition, the concept of equilibrium emerges and sets the question of what exactly is the equilibrium the project is looking for? There should, for instance, be an optimal state of being and operating. One can never be the global factory forever in view of the environmental expense, social inequality and - more importantly - the economic transition.


The Game Zoom-in

Prior to the gameboarding, the patterns of the land use are categorized for the placement and division of crosses in small scale. In the first step, two different types of agriculture are introduced to the gameboarding. One is building-integrated and the other one is soil-based. Sub-division of food related programs is added in the subsequent iteration Here, the cross is inserted into the residential and industrial area, now getting more diverse in terms of food provisioning system and agriculture, providing different zones for specific programs such as a “foodline” station as a food distribution site, micro vertical farming and food processing.

The large cross - an automated vertical farm - is situated on a non-inhabited hilly site on Dongguan as one of the power houses of food production on a regional scale. A 30-storey infrastructure with minimal human intervention to produce monocultural grain for both human and livestock with the use of robotic hydroponics. The tip of the infrastructure is allocated for animal farming in accordance to the locals’ diet composition. The main purpose here is to maximize the efficiency of food production. The foodline of the large cross would be mainly connected to other cities and towns within the province, which are not able to implement building-integrated agriculture, to create a food provisioning network for GBA and limit the food mile to counteract the marginalization of food production.

Newly emerged agro-industrial and agro-recreational programs are inserted into the urban fabric, forming a starting point to trigger urban renewal within the divided urban fragment. For example, it can lead to a urban growth in terms of intensification and advancement together with the new agro-industry and new food provisioning system in residential area, limiting the outward sprawling. Meanwhile, it can insert new amenity to the factory towns and provide a open a new living paradigm for the floating population locked up within his own factory and dosimetry.


The Vision

The rapid and intentionally unregulated urbanization of the GBA resulted in disbalanced food security. It left a significant ‘food-print’ on the West Bank of Pearl River Delta landscape, where the majority of the farmland is located. This project addresses food production in terms of food security and uses the cross as morphological strategy to shape the environment and to create a system for possible food production planning. As a result, the project develops a repertoire of complementary facilities of a contrasting nature. Strategically placed crosses take the pressure of overcrowded areas by subtracting existing landscape and creating natural voids. Other crosses are added to low-key areas and intensify them by the construction of high-intensity agriculture centers. In this manner, zooming into a local and communal scale, a cross-additive process generates more accessible food production. Zooming out and applying the strategy to a regional scale, more balanced land use is created. Finally, this strategic and conscious urbanization could generate a ‘FOOD-SCAPE’ that would provide food security for the whole GBA region.