Migration Farm


2016 Student Awards


Urbana-Champaign, IL


Student Awards

Landscape Architects

Sam Shui, Qiran Zhang, Lin Zhu

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Project Details

In 2011, 20 percent of agriculture production was lost due to natural disasters. Current and anticipated climate change and extreme weather events will continue to undermine human attempts at controlling natural systems. Natural catastrophe will specifically impact human’s agrarian activities due to the system’s lack of resilience. Not if we uproot the farm, let it adapt the changing climate, and design it with the ability to relocate for desirable growing conditions and avoiding disaster by giving it the ability to migrate. To do so, we propose the farm on rail.

Rail Infrastructure, engraved on the land as a trail for movement and a channel for flow, is perfectly suited for this purpose. In the same future image, developed logistics will mark the land with a richer crisscrossed network, which, at the spatial scale of the upper Midwest and a time scale of seasons, will facilitate the migration of farms on trains according to the gradient of temperature zones. At a smaller regional scale and a time scale of days, this system will allow movement within the same temperature zone and across different locations to avoid extreme weather and natural disasters.

Centered around this new generation of agriculture, and the “opportunistic strategy” of migration, the Migration Farm concept produces an alter-urbanization. In this scenario, crops relocate according to climate, weather, and disasters; human settlement becomes mobile and circulates along rail to avoid disastrous natural events like flooding or tornados; and stock farms migrate according to the growing period of grass.

« Back to Awards

  • Receive the Latest News & Updates from ILASLA.