ÅF is taking part in transformation of the centrally located Masthuggskajen area in downtown Gothenburg. After winning a parallel assignment together with Kanozi arkitekter, ÅF’s consultants have continued to work on the project. ÅF has provided support in the ambitious management of sustainability issues, carried out impact assessments, planned civil dialogues and continued to collaborate with the architects in preparing plans for the area during the spring and summer. One central part of the planning process has focused on landscape design and landscape architecture.
Masthuggskajen has the potential to be revitalized into a dynamic urban community that leads the city towards the water and lays the foundation for sustainable urban development. Here we see a meeting of the private and public, the international and the local, the large scale and the small scale, the high-intensity and the recreational. Urban renewal of what is today largely unutilized land will create a dense and dynamic urban environment that contributes to the entire city’s spatial and social integration. The ambition, through sustainable development, is for Masthuggskajen to become an integral part of the inner city. The urban community’s attractiveness is also enhanced by increased water contact with improved accessibility and an extended pedestrian promenade along the shore of the river.
The technical discipline of landscape architecture has played a crucial role throughout the entire work process. Attention to the green aspects has been especially important with regard to the scope for creating social values through more low-intensity meeting places that are not defined by consumption or a high tempo. The green also plays a key role for ecological sustainability and the opportunities to utilize different types of ecosystem services. Issues related to the area’s identity and character, accessibility, corridor formation and connections to the surrounding urban environment have also been central.
A number of green typologies for the city’s public land have been developed as a method for shaping creative green spaces that incorporate wide variety and flexibility in terms of function, character, identity and scale. On a small scale, the typologies build up a green structure made up of a cohesive, finely meshed network of green belts, spaces and sites in the area. On a more overall level, the green belts are also interlinked with Gothenburg’s green avenues and existing vegetation areas.
On the micro level, the typologies offer smaller ‘”living rooms” in the city and have several different functions and scales depending on the site and needs, everything from a secluded green oasis with concentrated greenery to a communal urban sofa for relaxation and social interaction. One vital aspect is the social values that the typologies can offer in the area in the form of non-commercial meeting places. These places can function as a refuge in relation to high-intensity business and shopping thoroughfares, and a more intimate space where spontaneous activities can take place.
The different typologies can also function as activity spaces for clubs and associations in the area, with capacity for uses such as outdoor cinema, urban farming or stage performances. For children, the sites provide valuable space for play and sports. Despite small surface areas, the green spaces can contribute ecosystem services that can involve different types of open stormwater management or noise reduction in the form of green sound absorption and masking, for example through water displays. The vegetation can also have a cooling effect in the summer, which can lead to lower energy consumption in the adjacent buildings. Each typology is being designed carefully, with consideration to security and accessibility.
In this process, ÅF’s consultants have worked with a clear focus on sustainable urban development. The basis for the sustainability perspective is a holistic approach in which ecological, social and economic aspects interact and synergies arise. The holistic approach to sustainability and weighing together of different interests have been governing factors. Consultants from different technical disciplines have collaborated closely to find common solutions. The in-depth expertise in landscape architecture has proven to be a significant tool in creation of the good sustainable city.