Urban farming in inner-city multi-storey car-parking structures: adaptive reuse potential

Monika Anna Szopińska-Mularz, Steffen Lehmann

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The future direction of transport and new global concepts of low-carbon mobility are likely to increase the number of obsolete inner-city multi-storey car-parking structures. The adaptive reuse of these garages is challenged through the continuity of urban change and the need for new mixed-use typologies. The development of technologically advanced farming in these structures could become an innovative strategy that as an interim solution justifies renovation versus demolition and new construction.
The paper presents findings from the first stage of the multiple-site case study research on car-parking structures strategically selected in 3 UK cities (Portsmouth, Bristol and Brighton). In order to develop a better understanding of the conditions that enable the implementation of urban hydroponic farming in selected structures planning and technical limitations and opportunities have been identified through the analysis of policies, exploration of layouts using Revit software, field observation and photography.
The analysis demonstrated that there is a range of possible uses that may be developed in the process of up-cycling of inner-city car-parking structures, of which one might be hydroponics. Looking at three multi-storey garages has shown that these have similar problems for adaptive reuse, which can be overcome with appropriate architectural strategies. Converting these structures for farming could support addressing social, environmental and economic problems. However, the proposed development requires innovations in planning documents. Further analysis needs to be conducted to assess whether the amount of food that could be produced in such a structure is efficient and comparable with other means of achieving it.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4
Number of pages13
JournalFuture Cities and Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2019


  • Multi-storey car-parking structures
  • adaptive reuse and up-cycling
  • urban farming
  • hydroponics
  • local food supply


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