MVRDV - Pig City

In 2000, pork is the most consumed form of meat, 80 billion kg per year. Recent animal diseases as Swine Fever and Foot and Mouth disease are raising serious questions about this pork production and consumption. It is evident that the current pork industry cannot proceed this way, without causing many casualties.Two opposite reactions can be imagined. Either we change our consumption pattern, and become instant vegetarians. Or we change the production methods demanding biological farming. Let us assume that we remain pork-eaters. Do we then have enough space for biological pig-farming?

With a production of 16,5 million tons of pork, The Netherlands is the chief exporter of pork within the European Union. In 1999, The Netherlands was officially inhabited by 15.2 million pigs and 15.5 million human beings. One pig needs an area of 664 m2, including the current food processing, which is composed of 50% intensive grain production and 50% industrial by-products. In the case of organic farming, this would prevent certain diseases, pigs will be fed with 100% grain, and this would require 130% more field surface due to the reduced grain production. This causes a demand of 1726 m2 per pig, including the organic food processing. This means that there will be only 774 m2 per person left for other activities, or in other words 75 % of the Netherlands will be dedicated to pigs: Holland Pig Country!

Can we combine this organic farming with a further concentration of the production-activities so that there will be enough space for other activities? Is it possible to compact all the pig production within concentrated farms, therefor avoiding unnecessary transportation and distribution, and hereby reducing the spread of diseases? Can we through concentrated farming, create the economical critical mass to allow for a communal slaughterhouse, a self-sufficient fertiliser recycle utility, a central food core, etcetera so as to solve the various problems found in the pig-industry?

Concept : Winy Maas, Rotterdam

Research and design : MVRDV Rotterdam: Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries

with : Cord Siegel, Christoph Schindler, Ronald Wall, Arjan Harbers and Uli Queisser

Based on : initial studies by Meta Berghauser-Pont, Permeta Architecten, Amsterdam

Advice : Jan Willem van der Schans, Scientific researcher Agriculture Economics Research Institute LEI Wageningen UR

Film : Wieland and Gouwens Rotterdam: Eline Wieland and Marino Gouwens

Text : Winy Maas with Cord Siegel and Ronald Wall

Many thanks to : the pig farms
Made possible by : Stroom Den Haag
First shown : Stroom The Hague, March 30, 2001