Local Transport Today is the authoritative, independent journal for transport decision makers. Analysis, Comment & News on Transport Policy, Planning, Finance and Delivery since 1989.

Turning grey space into green space

Slow Food wants to convert Birmingham car park into a farm

Mark Moran
13 April 2023
The Vyse Street urban farm (Urban Design Hub)
Urban Design Hub has designed a rooftop landscape plan which features a biodiversity centre, café and a series of raised beds (Urban Design hub)
Urban Design Hub has designed a rooftop landscape plan which features a biodiversity centre, café and a series of raised beds (Urban Design hub)


A multi-storey car park in Birmingham could be transformed into an urban rooftop farm and community garden by Slow Food, an organisation focussed on improving food production to reduce carbon emissions and global warming

Based in the heart of Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, the Vyse Street Food Project is envisaged as a way of improving and reducing the city’s carbon footprint whilst delivering quality, clean food to residents.

The plans include a biodiversity centre, home to a café and education hub that would form partnerships with local schools and colleges to promote interest in food cultivation and cooking.

To support the Jewellery Quarter’s independent food retailers and its residents, Vyse street’s multi-storey car park was identified as an optimum location to build an urban farm that is easily accessible. The car park would also host a hub for delivering locally grown produce by cargo bike to residents, businesses and food justice groups.

“The Jewellery Quarter has got the smallest amount of green covering of the entire city so there is nowhere people can grow,” said Kate Smith, the founder and projects lead at Slow Food Birmingham. “It was during lockdown that one of our members had the idea of using the space on top of the car park because we know as residents it is underutilised.

“Our proposal is part of a system rethink designed to provide food security as we cope with a changing world. One of the goals is to be able to show people that we are in the middle of a city and we are growing food 12 months of the year. We want to be bringing the community in and giving them an opportunity to get their hands dirty, talking about what food they can buy and how they might cook it.”

Design work on project was devised by Urban Design Hub, an interdisciplinary architectural design studio based in the Jewellery Quarter.

The studio said: “Working with Birmingham City Council and Slow Food UK, we developed a strategy that addresses the need for food growth in cities. Through circular thinking and creative transferable design principles, we have transformed the Vyse Street car park into the city’s first sustainable hub.”

The rooftop farm was created with communities in mind. Urban Design Hub has built relationships with local universities, businesses, and residents to understand their needs and how such a project would benefit their daily lives.

Founded in 1989, Slow Food is a global organisation that works to preserve local food cultures and traditions, counteract the rise of fast food and boost people’s interest in what they eat and where it comes from.

Lead Projects Manager (Delivery Active Travel)
Norfolk County Council
£47,320 to £51,304 per annum
Specialist Transport Services Manager
Warrington Borough Council
£58,797 - £63,736
Senior Highways and Transport Planner
West Northamptonshire Council
£38,234 - £40,778
View all Vacancies

TransportXtra is part of Landor LINKS

© 2024 TransportXtra | Landor LINKS Ltd | All Rights Reserved

Subscriptions, Magazines & Online Access Enquires
[Frequently Asked Questions]
Email: subs.ltt@landor.co.uk | Tel: +44 (0) 20 7091 7959

Shop & Accounts Enquires
Email: accounts@landor.co.uk | Tel: +44 (0) 20 7091 7855

Advertising Sales & Recruitment Enquires
Email: daniel@landor.co.uk | Tel: +44 (0) 20 7091 7861

Events & Conference Enquires
Email: conferences@landor.co.uk | Tel: +44 (0) 20 7091 7865

Press Releases & Editorial Enquires
Email: info@transportxtra.com | Tel: +44 (0) 20 7091 7875

Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions | Advertise

Web design london by Brainiac Media 2020