Sustainable Cities™

Oslo: Smooth Landing in Fornebu?

The conversion of old airport fields offers a unique and elusive opportunity for cities seeking to expand their urban limits. With proximity to urban centers old air fields offer possibilities to create new commercial and residential communities.

Fornebu Master Plan

The conversion of old airport fields offers a unique and elusive opportunity for cities seeking to expand their urban limits. With proximity to urban centers old air fields offer possibilities to create new commercial and residential communities. However, the best practice on strategies for their redevelopment and the following implementation of the re-designs will always been open for debate.

Fornebu is the former location of Oslo's main international airport, situated upon a peninsula of rich natural wealth in the various forms of flora and fauna. Currently the 340 hectare site is in the process of urban redevelopment, which began in 2001 with a focus to create an information technology and telecom hub.  The ambitious master-plan, which is the first of its kind in Norway, also includes new residential housing, business, recreation and conservation projects. The biggest challenge facing Fornebu is to maintain an environmentally sensitive approach while balancing interests for industrial, residential, and recreational stakeholders.

The planning process began with several suitability studies, which revealed a need to preserve biodiversity, carefully manage contaminants due to use as a former airfield, and the implementation for storm water management infrastructure. Statsbygg, Norway's largest construction company, in collaboration with officials from the city of Oslo produced a document titled The General Environmental Program ( GEP). GEP requires environmental considerations to have as much significant as functional, technical, aesthetic and economic considerations.

The program covers five areas: 1. Transportation 2. Energy supply and consumption, 3. Building materials, waste and mass management, 4. Natural and cultural conservation, 5. Pollution and noise. A crucial part of the GEP was to require contractors to deliver an environmental account every month based on predetermined indicators.  The main indicators for this project tracked the efficiency of calculating, storing, and recycling of waste materials.

1024px -Fornebu _aerial

With these studies in place and GEP guidelines set, the landowners and authorities invited firms to deliver master-plan proposals, and a group comprised of Finnish architecture firms (Helin &Siitonen, Oy AB, Miljøbyrån Ab, YS-Bolagen and OY Engel Ab)  won the international competition. Their solution depicts a large, green park with a pond in the middle, and green landscaped corridors branching out in all directions towards the shoreline and surrounding fjord. Transportation is directed towards pedestrian walks and bicycle paths, with an inner ring road for local traffic, and an outer half ring for heavier traffic, while buses and light rail meet public transport needs. Housing is concentrated in the innermost areas, while business and dwellings share space in areas already developed on previous airport infrastructure.

Fornebu should be completed in 2030, with the public transportation infrastructure to be implemented in 2014. It will feature an open storm water management solution, to ensure a safe and friendly discharge of its water runoff into its pristine coastal habitat. Yet its future is unwritten and sensitive; despite all the planning a major setback in IT or Telecom industry growth, or the possibility of an ecosystem service disruption could turn tarnish Fornebu before it reaches its aimed potential.  Check the Statsbygg for more information on Fornebu.

 

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Last updated Tuesday, January 21, 2014

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