"Rework the Rework the world conference!"

30th June 2010 by

This would be the resounding call of any Oteshite who might have been at the 5th Global Yes Summit in Leksand, Sweden.  As an Otesha alumni I was part of the Young Foundation delegation, alongside other young leaders and volunteers from UK projects. Together we spent 4 days basking in glorious Swedish sunshine learning about social entrepreneurship and lots of new ideas that might one day ‘rework’ the world. Read the rest of this entry »

Sustainable housing in Malmo

13th January 2009 by

Malmo used to be an industrial port town. Now it’s at the cutting edge of low-energy, low-impact sustainable housing design.  I tour to find out more, and here’s what I learned:

I took a walking tour of Malmo’s Wester Harbour, which is aspiring to be a completely sustainable community (it’s powered by 100% renewable energy, for example). Since I took, oh, about a million photos, I thought I’d share some of them with you.

When the creaters of this neighbourhood got together make it happen, they took lots of different aspects of sustainability into account, from materials to energy use and from community life to asthetics. This means that, in addition to being as low-impact as possible, the houses, commercial spaces and common areas aren’t too shabby to look at. To make sure that the buildings were diverse, the city of Malmo worked with about 17 different architects and a host of developers to create buildings that are built in different styles, sizes and colours – like these here:

Most of the streets in the Western Harbour are completely pedestrianized – so no cars allowed! As you might have guessed, bikes live everywhere. Here are just a few:

You can see water from anywhere in the Western Harbour, either sea water or rainwater collectors, which are alongside most roads.  The collectors add a bit of green space to the otherwise completely paved neighburhoods, plus the rainwater helps to increase biodiversity in the area by encouraging more local plant and animal life.

One of the area’s main landmarks, the Turning Torso, was created by famed Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava to symbolize the city’s transition away from an industrial port town. (The skyline used to be dominated by a giant grane basically right on the building site.) I was a bit sad to hear that the building isn’t particularly environmentally-friendly though- instead, it’s made of luxury white marble. Sigh.

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