Building Integrated Technical Food Systems

  • Andrew Jenkins

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


By 2050, it is estimated that food production will need to increase by 70 percent in developed countries and 100 percent in developing countries to meet the demands of future populations. In countries such as the United Kingdom - where the opportunities for increasing food production are limited due to the lack of available land - urban agriculture is seen as a possible solution to meeting increased food demand. However, many cities in the United Kingdom exhibit high building densities and the availability of space at ground level for agricultural activities is in short supply. As a result, the practice of urban agriculture in high-density cities is typically portrayed as a succession of purpose-built edifices that are filled with lettuces or livestock; illustrating a method of food production that is dependent on substantial investment and the demolition of existing buildings to succeed. Within this thesis, these large utopian agricultural skyscrapers are pushed to one side, and existing buildings become the focus of the research; so as to work with cities as they exist today rather than against them. The aim of this thesis is to determine the productivity of building integrated technical food systems and to understand the challenges that face their integration within existing buildings in the future, to calculate the cumulative impact of building integrated technical food systems on UK food security and to understand the potential benefits of building integrated technical food systems such as employment opportunities and the increase in green infrastructure. The delivery of this thesis is not dependent on a pre-existing hypothesis that building integrated technical food systems will drastically improve food security. Instead, this thesis relies on the design of real-world experiments, the development of simulated studies and the construction of logical arguments to quantify and qualify the potential impacts of building integrated technical food systems.
Date of Award2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorGreg Keeffe (Supervisor)


  • Architecture
  • Urban Agriculture
  • Technical Food Systems
  • Aquaponic
  • Hydroponic
  • Food Production
  • Retrofitting
  • Urbanism
  • Sustainability
  • Ecological
  • Cities
  • Hollistic

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