Urban-Metabolic Farming Modules on Rooftops for Eco-Resilient Farmscape

Youhanna E. William, Hui An, Szu Cheng Chien, Chew Beng Soh, Barbara Ting Wei Ang, Toshikazu Ishida, Hikaru Kobayashi, David Tan, Ryan Hong Soon Tay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The scarcity of land resources and food security challenges have prompted more effective uses of the rooftop as well as façade spaces in the urban city of Singapore. Urban rooftop spaces are used for mechanical and electrical (M&E) amenities such as air-conditioning cooling units and water tanks, so the spacious span of the roof area on HDB flats in Singapore is not available. Urban-metabolic farming modules (UmFm) built on 1.5 to 2 m terrace-step terrains have been modelled using BIM Revit to mimic such constraints in rooftop spaces. CFD simulation was conducted for the structure with consideration of the prevailing wind directions at different months of the year. The airflow with the inclusion of mesh netting and varying tiltings of the polycarbonate side façade was simulated to understand their impact on airflow in the growth envelope of the UmFm units under different prevailing wind directions. The amount of solar irradiance received by the crops at different heights in the UmFm due to the sun’s path, and shading of crops grown on the A-frame, was studied using Climate Studio. A comparative verification was done with a scaffold modular unit mounted with temperature, humidity, airflow, and Photosynthesis Photon Flux Density (PPFD) sensors. The digital model of the UmFm unit enables a prior assessment of site feasibility before actual physical implementation on an existing rooftop. It also facilitates plug and play for the UmFm unit to generate an eco-resilient farmscape for an urban city.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16885
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec


  • BIM Revit
  • CFD simulation
  • building facade
  • building performance
  • rooftop urban farming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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