Sustainable Business Hub

Augustenborg -Turning a Troubled District into an Attractive, Resilient Eco-City

The Augustenborg district in Malmö was ambitiously rebuilt to manage flooding problems and socioeconomic challenges. As a result of solutions based on ecosystem services, the area is now an attractive neighbourhood and an example of a successful sustainable makeover of an urban district.

Malmö in southern Sweden is conducting strategic climate adaptation work focused on managing water issues and on securing ecosystem services. Augustenborg is an interesting example of successful climate adaptation in a neighbourhood. With 20 years’ experience, the eco-city has developed into an extensive social process, undergoing constant change. The project is a collaboration between public housing company MKB and the City of Malmö, but many other organisations and local companies are involved too.

From troubled area to eco-city

The district of Augustenborg was built between 1948 and 1952, but over the years has faced difficulties, including social challenges and ecological problems like regular flooding of basements during heavy rain. To reverse this development and address the flooding problem, the municipality of Malmö initiated the Eco-City Augustenborg project to renovate the district and turn it into an environmental and sustainable success story. The project also included the refurbishment of housing, improved waste management and social projects. Much of the work was based on residents’ wishes.

Focus on resilient water systems

In terms of environmental aspects, the makeover has focused on efficient water systems, green roofs and solar energy. The water systems include surface rainwater runoff, canals and ponds. The result is an attractive eco-city with a modern recycling-based approach, green spaces and its own production of renewable energy.

The biggest change was the transition to an open stormwater system with ducts and ponds that collect and clean the rainwater instead of underground pipes. The goal is for 70 percent of all rainwater in Augustenborg to be managed or slowed down by the new system. When Malmö was hit by major flooding in 2014 caused by heavy rain, the district did not suffer damage.

Greenhouse with ecological and social values

The Greenhouse apartment building, comprising 14 floors and 56 apartments, was built in 2016. It’s a passive building with smart solutions that facilitate a sustainable lifestyle. The building includes cultivation balconies, a shared roof garden with greenhouses, green roofs, solar cells, a cargo bike pool, simple solutions for waste management and separate metering and billing of hot water and electricity. Greenhouse Residents have the opportunity to engage in various groups that organise social events, hold courses and take care of communal areas.

Botanical roof garden

Augustenborg also features a botanical roof garden made up of about 10,000 square meters of green roofs. Besides reducing and slowing storm water, the roofs have an insulating effect. The green roofs also increase the local environment’s biodiversity. The botanical garden is popular with groups studying various green roof facilities, such as The Scandinavian Green Roof, which organises conferences, lectures and guided tours in Augustenborg.

Facts and figures

• Energy efficiency has increased by about 10 percent compared with 1998, and is approximately 35 percent higher than when the buildings were first built.
• Turnover of tenancies has decreased by almost 20 percent.
• The environmental impact of the buildings has decreased by around 20 percent.


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