Development

Urban Farms in Taipei and Tokyo, by Untapped Cities

File Type: Free Content, Article
Release Date: April 2014
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Pacific Plaza green roof

Can urban farms improve office workers’ quality of life? That’s the premise of a recent article by Wen Jay Ying on the Untapped Cities website, which describes a roof garden atop a Taipei office building and an even more ambitious green office building in Tokyo that is like a “Willy Wonka factory for plants.”

On the roof of Winkler Partners Law Firm, “arugula and strawberry plants frame the silhouette of buildings and mountain tops that make up the Taipei skyline.” The office houses one of the first rooftop gardens in Taipei, which also features about 40 other edible plants. Employees are encouraged to help out with the garden as a way of taking a break from office work.

“Over a thousand miles away,” the article continues “there stands a human resource and job recruitment company that looks a bit different than the rest of the buildings. Its façade is covered in seasonal flowers and orange trees by means of three-foot deep balconies … with a dual purpose of bringing a lively and beautiful exterior to the building as well as helping with energy conservation.” The Pasona headquarters building in downtown Tokyo features about 43,000 square feet of “farmland” where office workers cultivate 200 species of fruits and vegetables. The urban farm makes creative use of office space: Pepper plants line the walls of a common area; kohlrabi grows in a raised bed along a hallway; and a meeting room houses tomato plants that grow from planters along the walls up to and across a lattice ceiling. Produce grown in the building’s “plant factory” is used in the staff dining hall.  Pasona’s CEO hopes the plants will relieve stress brought on by city life and increase productivity.