September 12 2012

Developing Cities Under Social Conditions: Malmo, Sweden and Copenhagen, Denmark

The Øresund Strait links the two nations through an underwater tunnel, an artificial island and a bridge structure, totaling 8km of rail and road.

There lies the Øresund region, the northern European territory around the Baltic Sea covering the southern Sweden and eastern Denmark, the most densely populated area in Scandinavia, housing 3.7 million citizens. It is the case of the two metropolitan areas of Copenhagen, Denmark, and Malmö, Sweden positioned on opposite sides on the maritime shores.

Against the geographical separation and historical division, there is a strengthened mutual support between the two parties. Besides the official agreements at the external affairs department, there are a high number of individual contracts, as people commute daily to work between the two countries. The financial variation between the accessible Swedish housing prices and the high Danish pay slips determined the extreme choices that these inhabitants make. Consequently, the authorities strengthened their connection and implemented sequent strategies.

An engineering marvel of modern days, the Øresund Strait bridges the Scandinavian cities have contributed to an ambitious decision and risky investment. The mixed identity of the cities goes beyond distinct languages and currency. They now share a common vision for a fundamental set of economic, social, and environmental sustainability goals. Just recently, the cities have been awarded a special prize in Singapore for their inspirational attitude.

As Copenhagen was repeatedly mentioned in my previous blogs, I find it compulsory to sketch Malmö’s profile as well. The Swedish city previously renowned for its’ modern theaters in World War II times has changed its industrial, contaminated outskirts into exemplary green buildings and urban design. Green mobility rates are on the rise, together with alternative energy productions. BO01 is a demonstration of the revolutionary transformation from austere designs to a clean urban extension that links to the sea. Even the acclaimed Turning Torso contributes to the cleansing of the eco-cycle with its’ garbage disposal system that digests organic waste before it is sent to the central collection tank to generate biogas. The city is partly empowered by wind, water, and biogas plants. Waste management outsources the district heating system and rainwater is biologically cleaned before reaching the sea in open water ponds.

The cities already share common benefits from one another; infrastructure such as the Copenhagen Airport and the Copenhagen-Malmo Port, which generates rewarding economic vitality. The national boundaries will be transparent by 2025, as the plans for a future metropolis alliance on man-made islands is already projected on the local urban architects‘ proposals and forwarded to the governments.

Are there impediments that might prevent the plan from realization?

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Denisa Petrus

Denisa Petrus, following a Constructing Architect Bachelors Degree at VIA University, in Denmark, recently graduated after completing her final project at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain. Her international educational background and practice as project architect in Dublin helped her gain a expanded perspective over the streamlining process from design to construction. She aims to further develop her commitment to the sustainability paradigm by starting a Master in Sustainable Architecture degree in the near future. Currently settled in Copenhagen, Denmark, a genuinely environmentally-conscious city, Denisa is constantly inspired by its` vitality and pragmatic approach. Her blogs sketch and summarize the Scandinavian urban experience, a symbiosis between contexts and behavior, esthetics and technology.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 12th, 2012 at 5:32 pm and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Energy, Engineering, Environment, Environmental Design, Government/Politics, Infrastructure, Land Use, Social/Demographics, Technology, Transportation, Urban Development/Real Estate. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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