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Murray, Rachel, 2023. Reconnecting Gävle’s Delta : a post-industrial urban transformation project for Sweden’s coastal landscape. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Urban and Rural Development



This speculative design-led research project addresses the challenges of transforming dilapidated post-industrial brownfield sites into thriving, sustainable, resilient urban neighbourhoods. Tasked with allocating urban growth, municipality planning departments increasingly look towards underused but centrally located industrial sites for future development. Coastal brownfield sites, with the promise of prime waterfront views, are especially sought after, but can also pose many complex urban and environmental challenges.

This thesis confronts these challenges using the site-specific scenario at Näringen – an industrial 232-hectare site zoned for urban transformation – in Gävle, Sweden. Faced with urban growth, deindustrialisation, disconnectivity, flooding, and environmental disrepair, Reconnecting Gävle’s Delta is a design proposal which draws on Nature-based Solutions, including Blue-Green Infrastructure (BGI) principles, and ideas of the ‘productive city’ to imagine a new climate-adapted mixed-use district at Näringen. First, a new water channel island is proposed to deal with future sea level rise by preventatively ‘inviting the water’, resulting in the creation of a new recreation island for the city. Second, a network of multifunctional blue-green corridors mitigates against cloudburst flooding while providing a focal point around which new mixed-use neighbourhoods – including housing, community, business, and industrial productive activities – can be designed.

Reconnecting the Delta critiques Gävle’s anthropocentric and monofunctional planning approaches (which it argues led to Näringen’s urban and environmental degradation in the first place), instead presenting a vision for reciprocity; firstly between ecological and urban systems – which in this project is initiated through a district-wide BGI framework; and secondly, between old and new – not just through preserving or recycling elements of the current physical urban environment, but through resolutely integrating and celebrating industrial productive activities (manufacturing, trade, logistics, repairs) that have historically and continue to take place at Näringen. The thesis concludes by encouraging the city of Gävle, and urbanism more broadly, to invest in further research that explores the integration of local production and industry as part of a truly mixed, sustainable, and flood-resilient city.

Main title:Reconnecting Gävle’s Delta
Subtitle:a post-industrial urban transformation project for Sweden’s coastal landscape
Authors:Murray, Rachel
Supervisor:Butler, Andrew
Examiner:Wingren, Carola
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2023
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:LM009 Landscape Architecture for Sustainable Urbanisation - Master's Programme, 120.0 hp
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Keywords:resilience, blue-green infrastructure, nature-based solutions, flooding, brownfield development, post-industrial urban development, landscape architecture, urban planning, climate adaptation, water-sensitive urban design, urban ecology
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Landscape architecture
Deposited On:24 Jan 2023 11:31
Metadata Last Modified:25 Jan 2023 02:03

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