New York City (Steady) State is a plan that asks: can New York City become completely self-sufficient, its ecological footprint literally co-terminus within its political boundary and fully autonomous in key aspects of its metabolism?
Our first volume, Home Grown, is a design proposal and collection of essays that interrogates the limit and logic of self-sufficiency in the realm of urban food systems. We demonstrate that it is technically feasible to grow enough food within New York City’s political boundary to provide 2,500 nutritious calories to 8.5 million people. However, we’ve discovered the impracticality – even the absurdity – of such technological fix that would require enormous amounts of space and energy and produce a limited variety of foodstuffs.
We subsequently investigate a variety of more progressive means of transformation ("sweet spots" at a wide range of neighborhood scales) that would still dramatically increase forms of local sustainability and allow an opt-out of factory farming and corporate systems of production, distribution, preparation, and consumption and their replacement by more equitable and cooperative arrangements. Tracking the social, economic, built and ecological flows and infrastructures of the city's past and contemporary food system, we explore a range of topics from the ethics surrounding the food we eat, to a discussion of the origin of the kitchen, to food waste as a cultural phenomena, to the question of how farming can compete in a city of rising land values.
Essentially, this volume uses food systems to redesign the city and to forge more equitable relationships between producers and consumers, local farms and the city government, urban populations and the hinterland, and communities of varied socio-economic backgrounds. The hope for this project is to be a repository of information; a physical bridge between the various disciplines: designers to community advocates; artists and policy makers; the farmer, the student, and curious reader.
To collaborate, please contact Andrea Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Table of Contents (Draft)