Beyond Eco-City: Re-Envisioning the Impossible Dream of Dorr Street, Toledo, Ohio | The Plan Journal

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Yong Huang

Throughout history, cities have always been extended towards the countryside without contemplating the other direction. While current urban farming practice tends to play a remedial role in our urban design processes and strategies, it is time for a paradigm shift between cities and the organic worlds that sustain them. Meanwhile, emerging eco-cities, such as the Masdar City project, were devised with ecological mechanisms almost exclusively driven by economic imperatives of the dominating political power. As posited by Federico Cugurullo, this kind of ecological modernization “does not change the traditional capitalistic patterns of production and consumption, and thus replicates the same environmental issues intrinsic to capitalism” (2016). This design research experiments ethnographic method in Toledo, Ohio, to generate urban farming prototypes as localized cultural practice. In response to the “Impossible Dream,” a new urban design initiative of the African American Legacy Project of Northwest Ohio, visual narratives of urban farming urbanism are created to address ecological urbanism and social-economic impacts, as well as building programming and cultural events initiatives, with a focus on public and interactive communal spaces.