Phoenix Invests in Incubator Farms and Community Gardens at Spaces of Opportunity

DSGN AGNC’s Spaces Of Opportunity, an 18-acre site in South Phoenix, Arizona, combines an urban farm with a community hub, an art center, and a music venue. DSGN AGNC, along with the Desert Botanical Garden and a consortium of local nonprofits, have begun work on the project with completion planned for this summer or early fall.

Segmented plots for community gardens and incubator farms have been laid out where master farmers will teach apprentices farming skills. Spaces in between the plots will be lined by rows of flowering fruit trees. The spaces along the edges of the plots will be used for washing and cleaning stations housed in re-purposed shipping containers, compost and animal areas, a 500-person, colorful corrugated-metal and solar-panel-topped stage, playgrounds, an outdoor gym, and walls for art.

Quilian Riano, the founder of DSGN AGNC hopes the project will become a model for future urban farms and for urban development in general. Incorporating so many types of uses has helped not only with interest, but also with fundraising. Money has already been received from local philanthropists and education and arts foundations.

“The idea is that farming here is an excuse to bring services to this area,” said Riano. “A way to bring economic opportunity.”

DSGN AGNC is an architectural, urban design and art studio that experiments with new forms of space creation through political engagement. “Our work is rooted in a methodology that uses engagement and critical discourse to open up possibilities for change in the processes by which architecture and cities are made. This process also postulates that no product is ever final — designs, buildings, ecologies and urban systems demand broad and holistic community-based processes that can change over time with both constants and variables.”