More from Malmö, Sweden

Posted by:  Chris Kim

As you’ve probably read by now, there’s a lot going on here at COP15 during our Day 3…will get to that shortly, but for now I wanted to follow up on David Shafie’s post from yesterday.

Additional limitations on access to COP15 were imposed starting Tuesday 12/15, and since we had only 5 of the necessary “secondary passes” for the 8 of us David, Manny and I caught a 30-minute train ride to Malmö, Sweden to see first hand what some claim to be the greenest city in Europe.

Malmö is Sweden’s third largest municipality and the commercial center for southern Sweden. The City’s population has increased over the last decade due to significant immigration, and about 25% of Malmö’s residents have foreign roots.

External automated Venetian blinds sealed in double-glazed glass help to maintain internal office temperatures.

Inside of Malmö's Sustainability Center.

The Sustainability Center at Malmö, originally associated with the relatively new Malmö University but now independently operating, offers free tours year-round to 4 different locations around the city that showcase their sustainable efforts. We attended the Western Harbour tour which highlights new construction and which started off at Malmö’s World Trade Center, which due to the architect’s vision of a large amount of glass (55% of the building, compared to 20% for normal office buildings) necessitated the design of external high-tech motorized Venetian blinds encased in double-glazed glass for protection from the elements.  This design allows the blinds to reflect and absorb sunlight before it enters the structure and causes warming.  The blinds respond automatically to sunlight intensity and angle to maintain a constant temperature inside the office building throughout the year.

Moving on to the Western Harbour development itself, we were struck by the variety of exteriors that resulted from offering multiple architects the opportunity to design for the area.  This results in an interesting and sometimes jarring juxtaposition of design styles; the tour guide mentioned half-jokingly that at least the entire area can’t go out of style or look dated at the same time.  In addition, multiple use design of the areas involve the inclusion of restaurants, cafes, beauty salons, etc. helps to reduce additional travel from one’s residence for basic needs.

PV cells on roof and sides, restaurants on the ground floor.

Taller buildings along the waterline protect internal units from excessive wind.

Many different architects made for a wide variety of building designs. Note bat houses along brick wall.


2 Responses to More from Malmö, Sweden

  1. Rosie Kim says:

    What is: Note bat houses along brick wall.?

    Did Malmo look like a town you would like to live in?
    Because of the advancement in technology there are the rents higher??

    Just curious


  2. Chris Kim says:

    The different mini-developments get “points” for various sustainable measures added, such as homes for bats, birds, or butterflies.

    Malmo definitely looked like the future of an urban, multi-use space that requires little travel other than by foot or bike (although there are apparently underground parking garages there as well).

    Someone asked about the rents; they come to about $1000/month for the smaller apartments, and go up from there. It’s also possible to purchase apartments starting at about $160K. Because of this, upon the initial Phase I construction many complained that this was “sustainable living for the rich”. However, the additional Phase II and III developments have had progressively larger percentages of affordable or low-rent apartments mixed in, so I think Malmö is aware of and trying to address this issue as sensitively as possible.

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