11-26-13

CUDC Researchers Find Agricultural Potential in Car Park Retrofit

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A student-faculty research project, executed during an independent study between graduate student Claire Markwardt and Dr. Reid Coffman, found it feasible to retrofit existing car parks for urban agricultural production if they implement innovative design strategies. Markwardt determined simply retrofitting a car park roof deck with an agricultural roof system that was growing conventional produce did not generate enough capital to offset the loss of parking revenue.  However, when the same building was modeled with specialized crop production, such as herbs, and implemented living walls, the retrofit became three to six times more profitable than similar agriculture rooftops. With assistance from CUDC faculty, Dr. Reid Coffman, Dr. Adil Sharag-Eldin and Professor Charles Graves, Markwardt concludes that economic feasibility relies on a combination of niche market vegetable and food product production and design innovation to deliver these products. Her findings were presented last month at CitiesAlive: 10th Annual International Green Roof and Wall Conference in San Francisco, California, in a paper entitled ‘Parking Produce: Assessment of Agricultural Applications on Car Parks’.

Ms. Markwardt is a graduate researcher and studio teaching assistant in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design at Kent State University.

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