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Aarhus Study Tour

April 21, 2022

Just before the Corona crisis out an end to all study tours – at least for a while, European Green Cities had a visit of 32 persons from Grøn By Stavanger.

On their homepage, they inform about the study tour: https://www.gronnby.no/studietur-til-arhus-8-10-mars-2020/

We have translated a part of their report:

“This year’s study trip went to Aarhus, where we had a delegation of 32 members from several of our partners, politicians and administrative personnel from the municipalities and the county council. After a fresh crossing with Fjordline, we were ready to visit Aarhus City Hall on Monday morning and hear the chairman of the Technology and Environment Committee, Keld Hvaldsø, talk about how the municipality works for sustainable development. We learned that Århus is a municipality of great growth with an influx of about 5000 inhabitants and a population growth of 1.5% annually. They work actively for the citizens to choose environmentally friendly means of access, with a particular focus on cycling and therefore rent out bicycles to more residents to motivate behavioral change. Maybe something that inspires our region?
 
Aarhus has a goal of being CO2 neutral until 2030 and has implemented a number of measures to meet this. At DOKK1, we got a good introduction to Aarhus municipality’s climate plan and their journey towards a sustainable city by Stine Sparrewath from Climate & Green Change. They want to make sure that the city is not only sustainable, but also liveable. There has been a large-scale reorganization of the energy sources the municipality uses for greener energy sources. This has resulted in an energy system that is greener but more complicated in the past.
 
The municipality also provides advice to residents and businesses on circular economy. Greater awareness of the circular economy in construction projects can save the municipality many emissions. The same is also done for the industry by giving advice on circular economics while giving advice on efficient and fossil-free processes and utilization of surplus heat.
 
The House of Generations
The Municipality of Aarhus is very keen that a neighborhood should consist of all types of people and of all ages. After the visit to DOKK1 we proceeded to the Generations house located on Århus Ø. This is a project under construction led by Erik architects. The project is innovative and focuses on “mixed housing” where you bring together different generations in a building: children, young people, the elderly, people with disabilities and families and with different social backgrounds. In the building, homes, institutions and common areas blend together and create a whole new way of being a citizen. During the tour of the building, we learned that different degrees of sharing of common areas are shared, with some sharing kitchens while other living units are equipped with a full kitchen. There are also common outdoor areas with opportunities for growing vegetables and utility crops. It is possible to both own and rent housing in this complex.
 
Local residents’ Common House
After the visit to the Generations house, the tour continued to the “Common House” in the “Ø-gaderne”. This beautiful district consists of low-rise houses built in the 19th century and is a former working district. Now it is a green district with, among other things, communal farms. The Common House is run solely on a voluntary basis and houses a variety of activities such as garden days, communal dinners and activities for children. The municipality only finances fixed costs such as electricity and renovation, etc. A few years ago, however, the municipality allocated DKR 4 million to renovate and upgrade the premises.
 
Energy efficient housing and social sustainability
On day two of the study we first went to Lisbjerg, which is about 8 km from the center of Aarhus. Here, a whole new neighborhood is being developed in connection with an existing village. Only a small part of the new land has been built, but the Letbanen is still established in the area. Here we heard about the work to make the houses as energy efficient as possible and the importance of good collective coverage in the area. However, no service functions or shops have been established in the district, so they are to a small extent self-sufficient with the most important goods. This type of establishment and development of residential areas appears to us as something that we try to avoid in our region.
 
We then proceeded to Hjortshøi, which is an alternative building consisting of several low-energy buildings, community houses, agriculture and our own shop. The area was established in the 1980s and consists of a number of different types of housing, ranging from smaller rental apartments to larger self-contained family homes. The entire area is divided into nine communities with ten to fifteen different types of housing that encircle a yard with a community house.
 
A few years ago, homes for people with disabilities were established in the area. There are also plans to build more elderly homes, and the last two areas, eight and nine, are being planned. There are approximately three hundred people living in the community, where one hundred are children. An increase in population of five hundred is expected when the last two construction steps are established. It is planned that the inhabitants contribute a great deal of hard work, both to maintain buildings and common areas and to produce food. There was a great influx of people who wanted to live in the area and little relocation. Ina Marie Graneberg, who also lives there, gave us a good presentation of how living in the area was.

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