This project was awarded Special Mention in Streetlife Design Competition 2023, organized by Streetlife in collaboration with Landezine.
The project proposes a new kind of typology of urban farming that can, in a design sense, act as a landmark.
As urban designers, landscape architects, and visual artist, we are concerned about the future of gas stations, as over 4,000 will be lost in the Netherlands by 2035 due to the electric transition.
Gas station network plays an important role in nowadays urban structure. They were designed to be reachable rapidly by car and form a complete network with a certain distance in between. You can see them anywhere throughout the country: On the side of streets, next to highways, in the CBD, in the residential areas, in the nature reserve and so on.
What is the future of these gas stations? We start to panic because they will not just be lost sites but lost networks.
We found the answer in history. The gas station is just an evolution of rest stations for travellers. Horses need grass, and cars need gas. Gas stations were designed to have high accessibility. What could this accessibility be used for in the future?
Gas to green
We envision repurposing these lost sites as urban farms, inspired by their historical function as rest stations for travellers. The accessibility of gas station networks perfectly aligns with the principles of urban agriculture, efficiently providing 'food' to city dwellers. By converting gas stations into urban farms, we can create hubs for public use, preserving these spaces from being forgotten. To facilitate this transformation, our project, Gas to Green, aims to utilize the two most common gas station types - those at highway exits and in neighbourhoods. We view this initiative as a design and manifesto, urging young designers to think ahead and find solutions for impending challenges. As we progress in the electric transition, let us turn these lost sites into thriving urban farms - an innovative way to address environmental concerns and ensure a sustainable future.
As the old Chinese saying: Great fortune follows upon disaster. Gas to green!