A key development area is Hovinbyen at the eastern fringe of Oslo. Hovinbyen is as big as the entire city center, but not at all present in the mind of Oslo’s population. One important task is to make Hovinbyen popular in order to promote the future development. The long-term goal is to establish 100,000 new work places and 40,000 new housing units. Hovinbyen will be home for around 100,000 new inhabitants, which will increase even more the need for new social facilities such as schools, kindergartens, play grounds etc.
We visited four pilot areas. During inspiring workshops, mind-opening lectures and eventful field trips we explored various strategies to intensify the use of the fringe:
In Kjelsrud the urban design reclaims the pre-industrial landscape. The green belt connects different sites and different types of housing. It also works as place maker and changes the industrial image. Many tools are used to create a vibrant neighborhood: Green and smart mobility ensures that every function can be reached on food or by bicycle. All ground floors will be open and welcoming to support the walkability of the new quarter. A mix of functions such as housing, small scale industries, sports, shops and cafés is a necessary part of the project.
Hasle, an important sports area, is another pilot area and also part of the green belt. The main aim of the project is to explore how to mix sports facilities and housing. The hilly landscape is also an issue.
In Kabelgaten, an industrial company is transforming its own commercial site into a new neighborhood with housing and workshops for creatives. Huge parts of the company’s real estates are protected buildings and have to be integrated in the urban design. Kabelgaten is a test lab for temporary events. These events open the area for the public and create general interest.
In Vollebekk the urban planners are starting the design process. In creative sessions we got in touch with influential stakeholders of Hovinbyen. Vice Mayor Hanne E. Marcussen and the Head of Plan and Building Agency Ellen S. de Vibe joined the workshop sessions and discussed the results.
At the Vulkan site, we had the chance to talk to the developer Sverre Landmark. He successfully turned a former industrial site into a vibrant multi-functional part of the city. He advised us to stay open-minded and give new ideas a chance. Flexibility is vital to be able to experiment with new concepts. Vulkan’s success in the inner city is an inspiration for transforming parts of the fringe to attractive urban areas.
One essential lesson learned from all the projects is to focus on the positive aspects of each area. The new development can adapt to the identity of each area and in the end create something new and unique. It also became evident that it will be crucial to balance the need for new housing with the existing commercial areas and the work places. The development of mixed areas could be a good solution for some areas in the fringe.
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