We are a team of nine master students and one graduate student from Wageningen University. Team members are from different parts of China.
We are divided into the following sub-groups according to the members' different professional backgrounds: Environmental and design team with Jingxian Lu, Keren Zhang and Yawei Wang; Social environment team Jingyi Wang and Shiying Lin; Organic-Production team with Xingqiao Li, Yiqiang Yang, Socioeconomic team with Yingying Geng.
We are a diverse team with a background that combines strengths in landscape architecture, greenhouse horticulture, organic agriculture, and urban environmental sciences.
Site location is an exciting place for an urban greenhouse. Dongguan area is highly populated and highly developed with excellent infrastructure connections and access to technology. It is also a melting pot with many migrant workers from all over China coming to live and work in the area.
What we want to achieve
Combine Chinese cultural values within the context of a high-tech agricultural project to demonstrate the value of urban farming to Chinese consumers.
Reduce the cost and accessibility of health and fresh food for Chinese consumers living in urbanised areas.
What are the main starting points of our concept?
According to the statistics, Chinese have an excessive intake of meat. In addition, typical cantonese cuisine is of less diversity due to less seasonings used while 76% of residents of Dongguan come from other provinces of China, who reveal distinct food habits. The philosophy behind Cantonese cuisines opens mind to new cooking ingredients. Based on it, AIGreen aims to increase dietary diversity, which on the one hand, introduces new food items to local residents, and on the other hand, fulfills the needs of migrant workers. Regarding the profits and greenhouse setting, the species narrow down to the herb due to its nutritional and cultivating values. Besides, the building design intends to incorporate with Lingnan architectural style corresponding to central agricultural park and revives local identity.
What are the main functions of our building?
The Herbtopia comprises of two interconnected buildings, one for greenhouse production and the other focusing on experience. The production area includes a terrace greenhouse, plant factory, research department and office while the experience area contains an aquaponics system, workshop, tea house, restaurant, hotel, sky garden, and a flexible area for market or exhibition.
What are the unique selling points of our concept?
The project “Herbtopia” makes use of advanced technologies and knowledge as well as benefits the local community in an interactive, circular and high-tech manner. It provides high-quality products and exclusive experiences to individual consumers (e.g. citizens and tourists) and customers (e.g. exhibitors and retailers).
Regarding economic profits, a feasible program is developed. The products are focusing on the niche market and the production is value-driven, our variable costs can be decreased due to the economics of scale and economics of scope. Our project will not only provide tangible outcomes (e.g. production and leasing), but also intangible social outcomes such as residents education, communities building and even local dietary cultures shaping. Thus, we expect the revenue stream will gradually increase social impacts, along with the expansion of production.