HOMEWORKING AND VACANT OFFICE SPACE: CAN URBAN AGRICULTURE FILL THE VOID?


When Covid-19 arrived early this year we saw a sudden migration of office-based workers towards working from home, a situation which has largely persisted to date. YouGov survey data suggests that at least some of this shift will be permanent,[1] a sentiment echoed by more recent accounts in the popular media.[2,3] A new concept report from UKUAT's Working Group for Research and Expertise explores the potential for controlled environment agriculture (CEA) to occupy some of this newly available urban space. Through the lens of two hypothetical scenarios – one imagining a full office-to-CEA conversion and one based on a mixed-use office and growing space combination – the numbers are pulled together in order to estimate the productive potential, infrastructure requirements, economic viability and wider social impacts of such a usage transition in this ideally located urban property.

It’s not a long read and I don’t want to reveal any spoilers, so please just download the report and permit yourself to dream for a moment about a city full of high rise farms or of working in an office where your lunch grows next to your desk.









[1] YouGov, “Survey Results Sample: 509 senior business leaders in the UK.” YouGov Plc, 2020, [Online]. Available: https://docs.cdn.yougov.com/fx854adnkx/YouGov survey results - business leaders.pdf

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/oct/05/covid-19-has-changed-working-patterns-for-good-uk-survey-finds

[3] There was a lengthy discussion on Radio 4’s Today programme on Thursday 12th November 2020. Available here for a limited time: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000p8c6



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