The Western Harbour, Malmo
100% local renewable energy
What is powered by 100%, local renewable energy, is one of the most popular areas of its city and has been a phenomenal economic success?
The Western Harbour in Malmö.
And that’s not all. The local busses are powered by biogas from residents’ waste, rain is channelled into beautiful water features, there are plenty of green spaces, cars are hardly anywhere to be seen and thousands of people enjoy the seafront setting on a nice summers day.
To top it off, this was an old, polluted shipyard which closed a few decades ago leaving 6,000 people without jobs. But Malmö saw it not as a problem area, but as a solution to the need of a beautiful new part of the city which would inspire a new environmental, economic and social miracle in Malmö and provide hope to other cities.
Marketing Sustainable Cities
Not too many people who live there know about the environmental benefits. Malmö took the decision to sell the properties based on them being beautiful and in a beautiful area. That’s one way to market sustainability – don’t market it, market another aspect that people want.
Maybe you think The Western Harbour is almost too good to be true?
In some ways you are right. Some of the buildings are not as energy efficient as they were supposed to be and many people are using more energy than originally thought. So what does Malmö do? They learn from this so they can try and do an even better job next time. They are also trying ways to see if they can help people change their behaviour to a more sustainable culture.
Lessons from Malmo?
Coming from England, I am used to seeing new housing developments as being anything but sustainable. Maybe one day the UK could learn from Sweden, and in particular the Western Harbour? I hope so.
So what can we learn from the Western Harbour? Here’s what I’ve learnt:
The problem is the solution – as any good permaculturist
will tell you.
Leadership in the city – getting the public/private partnership right
It’s not expensive – It costs some money, but everyone involved in the project has made handsome financial returns.
Just do it – It’s not perfect, but what an attempt.
What do you think? Can you learn from Malmo's experiment?