The Project

In the future, food production will be based on connected and standardized production modules communicating with each other. Together they form the CUBES Circle. 

Besides population growth and climate change, urban growth is one of the largest challenges in the 21st century. Spatial and infrastructural borders between urban centers and rural areas disappear. Agricultural production needs to feed an ever-growing population. At the same time, current innovations in animal breeding and plant cultivation, as well as measures for increasing productivity are not able to compensate for the ever increasing scarcity of cultivation areas.  

The CUBES Circle

The CUBES Circle

Our vision of agricultural systems of the future is based on the idea that food will be produced in connected, mutually communicating and standardized production units, the so-called CUBES. Those CUBES are the basis for a closed food production system, which overcomes the weaknesses of earlier agricultural production systems by using ISO-standards, stackable units and a bio-cybernetic regulation approach. At the same time, the system integrates easily into the urban future.  Due to its mobile nature, adaptability to a changing environment and an inherent scalability, the CUBES can be implemented in urban, rural and even desertified sites. Principles of closed cultivation methods will be integrated into a new process chain and the individual elements of the chain are intelligently connected and regulated. Thereby, synergies like the „Triple Zero®" concept can be used, enabling a production without additives and avoiding emissions and waste.

Material flows within the CUBES Circle

Material flows within the CUBES Circle


A closed food production system will be established, that overcomes the weaknesses of earlier agricultural production systems and that integrates easily into the urban future.


The history of humanity and its cultivation systems show how urgent rethinking conventional food production is.

We believe that agricultural systems of the future must enable a sustainable, resource efficient and flexible production. A shift in basic technologies, as known from the industrial revolution (e.g. mobilization of fossil fuels), is not to be expected in the near future. Thus, agricultural progress cannot be based on revolutionary ideas alone, but will be generated by the diffusion of known technologies into the agricultural sector, with incremental adaptations and improvements. The agricultural system CUBES Circle combines both: newest technology as well as a consequent further development of established production methods and the consideration of sustainability criteria.



CUBES Circle is an interdisciplinary team of researchers and industrial partners with different professional backgrounds.

Our common aim is to develop an innovative agricultural system for future production of high-value food. This agricultural system will not only be integrated into societal structures, but will also use synergies  with established systems like urban settlements. A proposition for the success of such a production system is that it accepted by society and that it complies with sustainability criteria.

CUBES Circle is supported by the research and innovation network FoodBerlin






Project Coordination

Prof. Dr. Dr. Christian Ulrichs & Dr. Christine Werthmann
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Faculty of Life Sciences

Albrecht Daniel Thaer-Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences
Division Urban Plant Ecophysiology
Lentzeallee 55-57
14195 Berlin

Phone: +49 30 2093 46422
Fax: +49 30 2093 46440