Rethinking Nordic Urban Harbour Development A Sustainable Perspective

Elizabeth Donovan, Sofie Pelsmakers, Urszula Kozminska


With the continuous growth of urban environments, space for new residential developments is in continuous demand. Subsequently, the recent transformation and reclamation of waterfronts are becoming increasingly desirable. However, this is often at the expense of social, environmental and architectural quality where affordability, good urban design, human scale, citizen wellbeing, as well as quality outdoor spaces and ecology are often set aside. Moreover, given that housing is expected to last 50 years or more in cities meant to last for centuries, it raises questions about protection from future predicted climate change, which is often jeopardised in favour of exploiting land values. Equally, the buildings' lifespans and demanding environmental conditions of the harbour context are often compromised in the formal and material choices. A "Sustainable Residential Waterfront Development Framework" was developed based on extensive literature of key criteria for sustainable residential harbour (re)development and combined with three main environmental themes. The framework and its criteria and themes are demonstrated through an exemplifying case study. By using analysis photographs, maps and section diagrams, this article also illustrates the above-described tensions. Finally, the framework helps to unfold how these issues can be overcome to create more sustainable living environments now and in the future.

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