Statistically, the banana is the most popular tropical fruit in several European countries and available in supermarkets all year round. Getting to enjoy bananas and other tropical fruit in Europe requires a high level of energy and global logistics. Harvested while still green, the fruit is shipped from exporting countries with a subtropical climate (mostly latin America) to Europe. This way of consumption stands for the current ecological foot-print – requiring 1.5 Earths to meet the demands humanity makes on nature.
To enter in global action against climate change, (local) built environment has to access synergetic natural systems. Material flows will have to run from ‘cradle to cradle’ and biotic and non-biotic systems must be united. ’Synergetic urbanism’ is an answer on the challenges of climate change. Inspired by the dynamics and forces of the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere, synergetic urbanism activates local resource- and material flows in order to create zero-emission products, cities and life. Synergetic space strategies utilize harvested energy rather than supplied high-quality energy.
The concept of “urban oasis” intents to harvest, accumulate and transform energy streams and potentials in the urban field into synergetic cycles. Focusing on waste-heat places in the city (such as the office-, industry- and food sector), automated + social installations in different scales try to develop solutions, how food production or other needs, can be created.
OASIS No. 8
The installation Oasis No. 8 (2015/16) can be seen as a prototype for using local available energy sources for the production of food in urban settlements. The project is situated in a vacant lot in the city center of Graz, Austria. The tropical micro-climate inside the bubble is powered only by the waste heat of two existing refrigeration units from a restaurant and a bakery under and behind the installation. The small, artificial and parasitic habitat takes rainwater from the roofs and sunlight from the sky to grow banana, pineapple and papaya plants. Within this intervention, the automated system is self-sustaining and keeps the interior temperature over 12° degrees Celsius – the minimum temperature required by tropical plants of this kind – during the freezing winter months. By remote control, the group of volunteers (bananahood), can observe and change parameters of the technical components.
The artificiality of Oasis No. 8’s nature is emphasized by the transfer of tropical plants from a tropical climate zone into a non-tropical region through the creation of a closed micro-climatic habitat. Bringing real plants to a place where they could not exist naturally, creates awareness. Local action to apply scientific knowledge about strategies to fight climate change.
September 2015 till end of 2016