Welcome to the neighborhood!

Our Gardens: Ames is a model for how urban sprawl and agricultural industry can find synergy rather than displace each other by integrating new urban agricultural practices between the homes of the community. Technology helps mediate and cultivate a series of sharing and circular economies that bring people together and connects homeowners like you who want the amenities of the farm (without the work) with students and growers (working to discover the next big thing). It creates community through shared interests and activities by literally giving the streets back to you and your neighbors.

This is a people-centered place that improves the quality of life while becoming a model for sustainability, economic opportunity, and mobility at the edge of the city by harnessing cutting edge technologies, social media, and an open digital infrastructure with the sharing economy at the core.

This manual introduces you to a new lifestyle at the heart of the neighborhood and tells the story of the farm in your back yard as well as the activity island in front of your house. Organized into three section - urban agriculture, activities and amenities, and the digital neighborhood, the manual gives you an idea how people come together to work and live in Our Gardens.

Evolution of the home through the Sharing Economy

Ames provides a wealth of public services and community services such as pools, recreation centers, theaters, and parks but they tend to be a little too far from home or may not suit your specific interests. We generally fill the void by dedicating spaces in our homes for these activities such as a home office or a gym, however these spaces tend to be unused most of the time. Our Gardens addresses the spaces we use for our activities and interests by pulling them out of our homes and yards and dedicating the streets and larger hubs throughout the neighborhood for their use.

Some activities warrant more than an activity island

There are a number of hubs along the spine of our neighborhood and consist more than apartments and condos. Hubs are like little town centers consisting of mixed use buildings that increase density to the neighborhood and act as epicenters for life. Beyond the housing, hubs have flexible spaces which the residents vote on their use which can change as the needs of the community evolve. Beneath the street is a vast series of spaces for district heating and cooling systems, automated waste processing, secure parking for shared vehicles, and service spaces that serve the farm.

My backyard is an underutilized resource?

Our Gardens takes a different approach to farming in the city by changing the ownership and support models. Each individual lot is responsible for contributing land available for shared farming and that land is broken into plots of varying size available for farming. These lots are offered to farmers, ISU ag students, and university partners who plant, manage, and harvest produce with a small share going back to the land owners.

Farming infrastructure integrated

Hubs have underground facilities for parking of autonomous vehicles, package and delivery processing, area utilities, and what is a modern agricultural barn. Food processing also occurs in these facilities redefining the term mixed use, and these mixed uses compliment each other such as your apartment harnessing free excess and clean heat from the agricultural processing equipment or having access to covered parking in your building.

Understanding the in’s and out’s and trying to connect them

Our Gardens strives to be a circular community from the very top in how the financial models work down to the material choices of the homes and buildings. This requires that new technologies and methods are adopted, and adapted as the neighborhood evolves. Building in flexibility while planning for the long term brings the model closer to a more responsible and sustainable neighborhood.


Photo Credit and Caption: One of the Our Gardens: Ames activity hubs

Cite this page:

Wittmeyer, S. (2023, 16 January). Our Gardens: Ames. Retrieved from https://seanwittmeyer.com/article/agames

Our Gardens: Ames was updated January 16th, 2023.