Västra Hamnen - Malmö, Sweden
Västra Hamnen ("western harbor" in English) is a new district in Malmö's reclaimed waterfront. The area was formerly the Kockums shipyards, one of the largest shipyards in Europe. After economic decline, Malmö began redeveloping its waterfront in the 1990s. Stemming from a housing exhibition by the same name, Bo01 (bo-noll-ett) is the first neighborhood to be developed within the greater Västra Hamnen district.
Bo01 serves as a showcase for sustainable design and development "both ecological and human. At each stage of development, the requirements for a healthy ecosystem are considered. However, those requirements are viewed within the human context: How may this be both beautiful and environmental?
Within Bo01, the buildings are powered by local and renewable resources, and visual diversity prevents the area from becoming a generic, master-planned suburb. Bird houses, bat boxes, and planters are incorporated, and small spaces for people to gather are in abundance.
Heavy emphasis is placed on the area's proximity to Öresund. From the large buildings designed to block wind coming off the water to the inclusion of an immensely popular promenade and boardwalk, Västra Hamnen takes its ocean proximity into full account.
Habitat and Environment
The subtidal zone in Västra Hamnen was already rich in marine life, apart from one area where the canal meets the sea. Sediment containing toxic materials was removed from this area, and life is anticipated to flourish. Before construction, tests of the existing fill showed areas with high levels of toxic content. Nearly 6,000 cubic meters of soil were removed and replaced by clean class A soil, and topsoil quantity was increased in all areas.
Although many different private developers built Bo01, ecological design standards were maintained through required Green Points. Focusing on green materials, habitat features (such as butterfly flower beds or space for vegetables), energy consumption, and other design considerations, the Green Points ensured that the neighborhood achieved a high development quality.
In Bo01, stormwater design is a major element. Stormwater is delayed first by green roofs and constructed ponds in urban spaces. The water then flows through open channels before returning to the sea. The open and visible waterways combined with lush plantings add a green quality to what might otherwise have been a sterile environment.
Västra Hamnen is planned to house 10,000 people, with offices and university classrooms for 20,000 more. Currently, Bo01 boasts homes for about 1,000, with several large and small businesses established. However, there have been some criticisms about the affordability of housing. Further Västra Hamnen developments will focus more on this issue.
The promenade is especially popular among Malmö's youth, who quickly substituted this area for the local beach as "the city's coolest meeting place." Bo01 has become the place to show off to visitors. Young people dive into the water while families paddle in the shallows. People stroll the promenade, enjoying the new cafés and shops while taking in the sun and sights. The promenade is also host to concerts, games, and other large events.
Design and Construction
Nearly 1,000 feet in length, the new promenade is built over a rock revetment along the shoreline, which had previously prevented public access to the water but protects the shoreline. The new promenade features seaside steps to reconnect with Öresund. The steps vary in tread width and height, allowing people to quickly reach the water or lounge in the sun and ocean views. The boardwalk itself is constructed of African azobe timber, an extremely hard and durable wood that is weather resistant with minimal treatment.
City of Malmö Official website.