Agriculture is, according to architect and planner Andres Duany, “the new golf.” Duany is promoting a new type of development he calls “agricultural urbanism,” which recognizes a shift in values that is transforming ornamental landscapes into productive ones. While this new type of development may be selling real estate, it is an actual trend that is happening in existing places is that people are raising flocks of backyard chickens from Brooklyn to Baton Rouge.
Keeping chickens close to home is nothing new in many cultures. In urban and suburban United States the trend has generally been motivated by the desire to get closer to our food sources.
The role of landscape architects in this generally DIY effort of backyard chickens does not require the graphic work of conjuring the signs and symbols of a Slow Food ideal as in “agricultural urbanism.” Checking local codes and planning spaces for roosts and runs are pertinent tasks. Fees collected for this type of work are likely to be modest. The real payoff may be the simple pleasure of eating a poached egg, one freshly laid by a hen you’ve named, just like I did this morning before heading out for work.