The development on the waterfront of this southern city in Sweden was given its initial impetus by exhibition Bo01, masterminded by Professor Klas Tham and aimed at promoting sustainable urban development. The significance of this project is that it seeks to reconcile the goals of sustainable design with the demands of the market. Malmo is set to experience a renaissance in its fortunes with the completion of the Oresund Bridge linking it to Denmark. This project represents an emphatic statement of intent as the new gateway to Sweden.
The development occupies the Vastra Hamnen site formerly dedicated to industrial and dockside use. About 30 hectares is now occupied by a wide range of apartments by a selection of international architects including Ralph Erskine. The city laid down a number of conditions for the leases. The programme included statements about the overall character of the development including criteria for colours and ecological credibility of materials. An essential part of the development was the 'green space factor' providing parkland and foliage to compensate for the built-over area (see Fig. 15.1).
Building performance included the stipulation that energy use must be less than 105kWh/m2/yr. The overall plan aims to obtain 100% of the community's electricity from renewable sources such as a 2MW wind turbine and 120 m2 of PVs (see Fig. 15.2).
A heat pump drawing warmth from an underground aquifer and seawater is anticipated to meet 83% of district heating needs. The same system will provide cooling in summer. Of the remaining heat demand around 15% will be provided by 2000 m2 of solar collectors and the rest from biogas derived from waste and sewerage. The energy is distributed by district heating/cooling mains.
Another prerequisite was that there should be a mix of social and luxury accommodation. The market-led pressures ensured that the expensive properties had the best outlooks with views over the sea or canal. This means that most of the apartments have east-west facing glazing - a case of outlook taking precedence over solar orientation.
An important component of the development is the inclusion of non-residential ground floor space for small businesses with access to the first floor to permit living above the premises.
There is a highly disciplined transport policy for the site. Streets are car free and parking is limited to one space per dwelling. However, the real innovation is the provision of a pool of electric vehicles charged by wind power to enable the residents to reach the city centre. A neighbourhood garage provides natural gas/biogas for alternative fuel cars.
Surprisingly there is no facility for harvesting rainwater which is directed via the canal to the sea. Wastewater goes to the city's main treatment plant. However, there is a sophisticated system for the management of other kinds of waste which comprises an underground twin pipe vacuum tube collection network. Residents have access to twin terminals, one for food waste, the other for residual dry waste which is incinerated. Biogas and compost are obtained from the food waste. The city has constructed a reactor to convert organic waste into biogas and fertilizer. The biogas is returned to the apartments via the gas main. Nutrients and phosphorus are extracted from sewerage to be used as fertilizer with the residue used as fuel for the incinerator. It is estimated that reclaiming waste generates 290 kWh/yr of energy for every resident.
The final innovation is the fact that all households are connected to a broadband communication network which provides information on a wide range of topics. This includes the ability to monitor the use of energy and water and to exploit an environmental advice channel as well as such essential data as the time the next bus will arrive at the nearest bus stop.
The overall impact of Vastra Hamnen is of a project which has, with its variety of architects, achieved a reconciliation between market forces and environmental priorities.
The masterplan has maximized the contrast between the expansive views to the sea and intimate green spaces encompassed by the apartments. A further asset is the parkland adjacent to the canal which all adds up to an urban complex which capitalizes on the spectacular location of the site. The dialectic between public and private space, between hard and soft landscape, between introvert and extrovert space makes this a stimulating example of twenty-first century urban design. The final seal on the scheme will be the residential tower by Santiago Calatrava called the 'Turning Torso' which may sound more poetic in Swedish. It was completed in 2005. If there has to be a criticism it is that architectural individuality has priority over a consistent urban grain. But with an exhibition site that is to be expected. Altogether it is not a bad template for a 'city of the future'.
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