In a courtyard in Malmö the municipal housing company, MKB, has decided that the outdoor environment will be upgraded. To help them out, IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute will develop a proposal on how to improve ecosystem services on site. The assignment is part of the testbed Blue Green City Lab.

Today, the courtyard is an inhospitable place poor in greenery and pleasant areas to socialize. There is no space for the children to play on and most of the surface is hard. Both the residents and MKB agree that something needs to be done.

Residents want social spaces and more plants

On two occasions, MKB has met the residents and listened to what they want. About half of them attended the meetings.

– They want a seating area, play area, a permanent barbecue and more greenery, says Linnea Wettermark, environmental developer at MKB, who shows the courtyard to Eskil Mattsson, Researcher at IVL, and points out changes they have talked about. At the site of a flowerbed with just a few plants, Linnea explains that the residents want a tree with benches around it.

– There are not many ecosystem services in the courtyard today, but there can be, says Eskil and looks around. There is great potential.

The courtyard next door shows the potential

At MKB’s courtyard next door, it looks completely different. Here you find large trees, lots of pots with plants, a gazebo with a green roof and a well-thought-out structure for socializing. The contrast is great. Ten meters apart but two completely different courtyards. The environment invites you to sit down, have a cup of coffee and socialize.

– Our hope is to create something similar together with the residents, says Linnea.

– The social part is important, says Eskil. A balance must be struck between what the residents want and how much ecosystem services can be accommodated on the surface.

Everything in place for next summer

The physical work with the courtyard will start this autumn so that everything is in place for spring and summer next year. The residents will be invited to join when the upgrading starts.

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