Dhwani Laddha

AgrowDubai : Bringing Food Security To A Desert

Course: Thesis

Class of: 2021

AgrowDubai reflects on how Dubai’s rapid urbanization, in the timespan of 37 years, led to a whole host of social and environmental problems. The most pressing of these issues, and one that lies at the nexus of this range of issues, is that of food security. With an ever-growing population and economy, Dubai requires more food access day by day. The UAE’s food imports reached over $23B in 2019, amounting to 85% of the country’s total food consumption. Food is thus not only a social and environmental problem, it is also an economic one. But, how can a desert with limited arable land and freshwater sources produce its own food? With more and more people moving into urban areas globally, the ability to grow one’s own food has also become increasingly important. Limiting spatial and resource considerations have brought a new wave of technological advancements in the field of agriculture. One such advancement is that of Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA). This use of technology to grow food, through the creation of a controlled growing environment for crops, gives growers much more control over their yield and allows them to efficiently use resources like water, energy, space, capital, and labor. CEA has seen international success, but limited efforts from Dubai. Now, the question is: how do we bring this knowledge to Dubai? How do we inspire Dubai’s residents to grow their own food? And, how do we help foster a relationship with food for residents that haven’t had this connection for generations?

Dhwanni Laddha is an interdisciplinary designer with a passion for building healthier and more resilient cities for the common man. Dhwani is working towards this mission by utilizing her skills in spatial design, strategic management, and communication design, bringing sustainability to the front of the table rather than having it as an afterthought.