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.
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.