Gallery: GROW BAGS: Urban Gardening hits London


The re-branded London Festival of Architecture is now in its second week of it’s calendar of over 600 events. The Grow Bags: Urban Allotments installation, produced by What If Projects, showcases a ‘formerly inaccessible and run-down plot of housing estate land transformed into a beautiful oasis of green. Seventy 1/2 tonne bags of soil have been arranged to become a space for growing food, socializing, picnics and BBQs.’

With an innovative approach to urban self-sufficiency, the Urban Grow Bags concept takes London one step closer to achieving it’s potential of producing 25% of it’s own food. The Vacant Lot Project in Shoreditch has been ongoing for two years. One resident describes how he initially spent £6.00 (about US$12.00) on seeds, which have produced ‘200 lettuces, cucumbers, beetroots galore, spring onions..’ so many that he shares them with his neighbors as they share their crops with him.

Headed up by Senior Lecturers in Architecture at UEL, Ulrike Steven and Gareth Morris, the project ‘promotes the use of vacant, neglected and undefined spaces in the inner city of London for the growing of vegetables.’ With hundreds of thousands of disused spaces and flat roofs ready to be converted into urban lots in London, what are we waiting for?

+ Grow Bags
+ London Festival of Architecture
+ What If Projects


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  1. greenspace July 14, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    It is a good project, but hardly earth shattering. There are plenty of similar schemes like this around the world (grow bags on rooftops in St Petersburg and the use of neglected spaces for food growing in Rosario – but on a city scale) and even in London it already exists: Growing Communities in Hackney ( has been making use of neglected land for food production for years.
    If you go to the organisers’ website, it seems that they are keener to promote themselves and their work rather then really thinking about the community or urban food production. Hence the very theatrical “set design” and the emphasis on visual impact. It screams look at me how great I am.

  2. Brunda Ganesh July 9, 2008 at 7:07 am

    all the pictures of all these plants look so green n beautiful…

  3. Brunda Ganesh July 9, 2008 at 7:04 am

    nice to see an idea targeting urban ecological as well as social needs.

  4. earthsmile July 8, 2008 at 2:45 am

    Great project. Great execution. Tight. Tidy. Impactful… Great, Great, Great ! A model project that can be repeated all over the world. Worthy of the Nobel Prize.

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