Norra Kymlinge – the most sustainable city district for the world
In May 2017, LINK arkitektur, together with Urban Innovation, Multiconsult and Arup, was chosen to participate in an international workshop for prototyping Norra Kymlinge as the most sustainable city district for the world. Norra Kymlinge, just north of Stockholm, is a green site covered with forest and surrounded by a nature reserve to the south and highly trafficked motorways to the north and east. The initial challenge was to analyse the site and provide site specific goals and design criteria for developing the area. Our focus broadened to include resilience, as an important aspect for securing long-term sustainability of the site.
Using the City Resilience index, developed by Arup with the support from the Rockefeller Foundation, we defined five overarching goals for securing long-term ecological, social and economic resilience of the city district. In addition, based on 13 sustainability themes, we defined 38 project specific sustainability goals and 75 design criteria. This helped us to create a more detailed vision of the development, a plus energy neighbourhood where urban structure is integrated into the green surroundings. We suggested a variation of housing forms and structures, and an optimal mix of functions and services for maintaining a safe and liveable city district. In Norra Kymlinge mobility is a service, a coordinated solution for seamless mobility, access and payment. Your mobile phone is a platform to find the most efficient mode of transport at any required moment of time. The streetscape is developed to accommodate new kinds of mobility and logistics solutions, as shared space.
We analysed the interdependencies between the goals and criteria and worked with three possible scenarios for developing the area. Isolate (a self-sustained city district without strong connection to the surroundings), Connect (an interconnected city district having ecological and socio-economic bridges with the surroundings) and Embrace (a district that extends from and strongly connects with Kista towards the north, leaving most of the forested area undeveloped). In our analysis, demonstrating environmental responsibility was the most important overarching goal, having interdependencies with most project specific goals and design criteria, so the three scenarios were analysed to find the best option for the site. Use wise and reuse at least twice was used to analyse the energy, food, water and waste flows within the area and its surroundings. The chosen solution, Connect by embracing combines both environmental advantages of the Connect scenario with the socio-economic advantages of the Embrace scenario. It also offers solutions to food production, noise reduction, energy production and storage as well as circular economy within the district. Norra Kymlinge will produce more energy than it uses, recover and reintroduce phosphorus and nitrogen into the cycle, ensuring that only renewable energy is used through smart systems and local energy production.
Securing long term sustainability in an area that is environmentally, socially and economically resilient, requires new business models and close cooperation with many stakeholders from the very beginning of the development. During the workshop we investigated how we could close the loops by redesigning a linear process, which uses a lot of virgin resources, into a circular process. At the same time, we wanted to create local jobs and opportunities for small entrepreneurs. The case we chose to analyse was “Can we find a business model to increase the repair and redesign of clothes? Are there any business opportunities for tailors and designers in Norra Kymlinge?”. As a result, a suggestion of how Vasakronan could push the process forward was created. Three steps have been recommended: start tomorrow, test in construction phase, implement in large scale.
Analysis, transparency, and knowledge transfer are important parts for driving innovation. Being a role model for sustainable city development requires a strong organization for innovation as well as transparency and openness for continuous knowledge transfer.
The results of the workshop are summarized and presented in a report available here
More about the development of Norra Kymlinge at Vasakronas website
Feel free to contact project manager Ivana Kildsgaard, Sustainability Manager at LINK arkitektur: