In recent years, Sparsely Populated Areas (SPARs) in Northern Scandinavia have been affected by important spatial, economic, and social transformation processes that are redesigning the identity of this once forgotten corner of Europe. Thanks to the natural resources boom of the last decade and a more recent drive to attract ICT and R&D businesses and institutions, economic growth in regions such as Norrbotten in Sweden has boomed.
However, this growth has brought new challenges for local policy makers:
- from a situation of general depopulation and housing vacancy typical of the 1980s and 1990s, today the largest coastal cities are suffering from a severe housing shortage while the rural areas are characterized by shrinkage and economic decline;
- just like in other parts of Europe, the changing climate has contributed to the vulnerability of towns and cities to prolonged rainfall and more humid winters while the extreme natural daylight and temperature excursions remain a “hot” topic for delivering an attractive urban environment;
- urban and regional infrastructures (e.g., transport) on this side of Sweden have naturally been weak while today there is the need for a general re-hauling of existing and planning of new infrastructures to support sustainable forms of mobility and more compact development.
A new, more strategic and spatially-oriented approach to area-wide territorial planning in SPARs of Scandinavia is badly needed to enable the long-term sustainability of the ongoing urban and economic growth. Supervised by a team of international researchers and practitioners, LTU master students will work in teams to develop a city-scale, spatial plan that focuses on Ecological Infrastructures as the strategic infrastructures to manage growth, regenerate both urban-cores, industrial, and sprawling peri-urban areas, promote climate-sensitive urban planning and design, enhance the ecological and landscape qualities, and deliver greater choice for mobility in the region. The focus area will be Luleå inner core including the nearby centres of Sunderbyn, Gammelstaden, Kallax, Gäddvik, and Rutvik.
Sustainable Mixed-Use Districts: Mitigating land-Use Conflicts in Industrial Cities (SUD course, 2015)
Project Site & Mission
Luleå is a city characterized by many industrial developments within its inhabited urban core. This has been mainly the consequence of the historic vocation of the city as an industrial and harbor hub for resource-rich Norrbotten, in the north of Sweden. It is also crucially the result of previous land use policies and master plans that have facilitated the proliferation of industrial areas throughout the city.
However, during the last decades the city has strived the service sector and increasingly towards the knowledge industry (see the Aurorum area and the expansion of the university campus). This, in turn, has attracted new residents from within the region and abroad and therefore has boosted the demand for dwellings in the urban core.
The aim of this course is to map these divides and the infrastructural gaps of Luleå’s residential areas encroached by industrial clusters to suggest strategies and interventions to mitigate the existing and future potential land use conflicts.
The projects below show the potentials of many existing urbanized areas in the inner town. This urban regeneration approach is antithetical to the current developments in town:
- many of the projects concentrate in upgrading brownfield areas rather that green ones.
- density is crucial but it is always declined to increase the "intensity" of activities and social interactions and not for speculative purposes.
- finally, all developments promote walking, cycling, and public transit rather than car-centred development.
We hope that these projects will foster a change of mentality in Luleå's city makers towards a more attractive, sustainable and just urbanism.