On Day 5 the group traveled by train from Copenhagen in Denmark to Malmo in Sweden, just over the new(ish) Oresund Bridge – now famous from the excellent TV show The Bridge (if you haven’t seen this then have a look). The main aim was to visit the Western Harbour development BO01, one of the leading examples of sustainable development in the world and held up as a key precedent for so many contemporary urban design projects in the UK. We also had time to look around the centre of Malmo before heading back to Copenhagen.
We started in the Western Harbour development by the main square overlooking the sea. This is where some of the SuDS water comes out and flows into the sea, after going through the wetland treatment systems within the development.
Much of the surface water flows into a central water body, some of which runs through a new park area and some between the back gardens of the nearby houses, offering the opportunity to have a garden leading down to a living river.
Jetty / bridges / structures designed like scuttling insects seem to have infiltrated the park – some used for access into wet woodland, some as seating in the open areas, and some allowing people to walk out over the water.
The Turning Torso Tower by Santiago Calatrava – based on the vertebrae of the spine – is the only tall building in the area, acting as a landmark for the development as well as a site for the most spectacular views (if only we could have found a way to the top).
Crossing the road out of BO01 into the new surrounding developments – a large park has been created beside the local school providing sports/play facilities for the entire area. A really interesting design with a subtle use of levels, planting and raised decks to give a sense of interest in an otherwise flat landscape.
Wandering around the surrounding development areas we discovered many interesting approaches to sustainability – the underground vacuum driven waste pipes, the extensive use of solar panels, wildflower meadows incorporated into the parks, SuDS expressed throughout, permeable paving everywhere, …
and multistorey parking buildings that have green walls (plants in planters incorporated into the building structure itself) with yellow nestboxes scattered all over the walls. Not only does it look interesting and covers up a potentially blank wall, but it is also fun, improves the microclimate, provides habitat, and makes a statement about the value of biodiversity in the urban environment.