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Cities that address sustainability: Malmö

This Scandinavian city took advantage of the celebration of the European Home Exhibition of 2001, to launch a plan addressing the challenges of the cities in the future.

It’s the third largest city in Sweden and is located at the far south of the Scandinavian peninsula, 600 kilometers from Stockholm and joined with the Danish capital, Copenhagen, by a bridge.

This urban development project, initiated by a privileged and already wealthy city, took into account problems that over time will affect more of the world’s large metropolises: disorganized growth, unlimited consumption, social tensions, lack of resources for part of the population, destruction of natural spaces, exhaustion of resources and contamination.

Six years after the European Home Exhibition, Malmö has answered these challenges, at least in the new neighborhood of Western Harbor, a district with 600 dwellings, as well as parks, and offices that respect the environment:

  • 100% of the energy consumed is obtained from renewable sources produced locally. For example, a pump extracts heat from the subterranean waters of the North Sea and diverts it for use in the city’s heating and air conditioning network. An installation of 1,400 square meters of photovoltaic cells also provides the energy network of the city.
  • As for its residents’ mobility, Malmö has encouraged the use of bicycles, by providing all apartments with bicycle space and well-developed bicycle routes, and of a public transportation system which uses electricity and biogas as fuels. To limit automobile use, a carpool system has been established.
  • The buildings of Western Harbor, that include 3,000 square meters of vegetated roofs, are flanked by two large parks designed to harbor local vegetable species. Previously a practically abandoned industrial park, Western Harbor was a landfill with polluted soil, which was cleaned up before building the homes and offices.
  • The residents of the new neighborhood recycle 70% of the waste that they generate. A subterranean system of pneumatic tubes transports sorted waste. Organic waste is converted into biogas subsequently used for the heating.
  • All the dwellings of this residential zone of Malmö have wideband Internet connection.

Malmö is applying the solutions of the Western Harbor, that soon will expand beyond their 600 dwellings, to the remainder of the city.