Dense living with the Nature


The state of the nature and the cities aspire to the development of a new way to live. The cities have a great impact on the world with their three billion steadily increasing citizens. As the cities on Earth increase, the awareness of the limited resources become clearer. Now, the world experiences the climatic impact of the way the humans live, expressed through e.g. the increasing amount of water problems in the urban areas. The city of the future has to adapt to the nature through an understanding of water management, building density and natural systems. The aim of the project is through an understanding of the term nature, to create a new method for making dwelling typologies where people live dense, in close contact to a rich nature with a high biodiversity.



The project site is located in the periphery of Aalborg city centre. It is the elevated orbital road O2 Østre Allé, which divides the infrastructure of the project area from the inner city. Most of the surrounding is light industry such as auto mechanic, artisans and distributor stores. From the north, the area connects to Godsbanearealet (the freight train area) whereas it from the south connects to Østerådalen (the Valley of the Eastern Stream), which creates an area that is like two parallel axes. The area towards the west has an urban character, whereas the area to the east that connects to Østerådalen is mainly green with natural elements such as the stream Østerå, a lake, trees and bushes. Further analyses of this area shows that even though it seems as a natural pearl it is actually 100 % artificial. It is not authentic nature, but a biological study shows that the lake has a natural value given many different species.




The project has to create an area, which has a higher biodiversity, manages the increasing water and has many inhabitants, to accommodate the present and future needs of the city. The main theme of the project is an equation saying 100 % water + 100 % building + 100 % landscape equals dense living with nature. The equation is to be interpreted as prioritising each element equally. When each element is optimised, dense living with the nature occurs. A method inspired by James Corner’s mapping method, layering, has been developed to solve the main theme. It is a method that optimises each layer and through superimposing, creates the sensuous experience. The project works with four layers; the topography, the infrastructure, the buildings and the roofscape. They depend on each other and together they create dense living with the nature. The topography makes sure that the buildings and infrastructure are at the vertically, so that water from the stream will enter the wetlands instead of the houses, in case of flooding. The infrastructure makes sure that all the houses are accessible. The buildings are terraced houses with one façade towards the street and one towards either the stream or the wetland. The roofscape is a landscape on top of the houses generating a nature with a high biodiversity and many different bodily experiences.




wetland visualisation


rendering of stream and inbetween houses



In the project’s invention of the roofscape concept, describing the landscape on top of the houses, it forgets the rest of the nature. The fourth layer should have been the landscape focussing the whole area. Many different types of nature create a higher diversity in types of habitats, which gives a higher biodiversity. It is especially in the edges between different zones that animals thrive. The project could more actively have worked with these edges both as an architectural staging of the nature and a biological way of increasing the biodiversity. The project has an extreme main theme putting the city on formula. This main theme and the theory behind could have been challenged even more through the design. It could have been an extreme case starting a discussion of the future of the cities and how they will adapt to the climate changes. The project examination of the terms nature and density sets up a new agenda in combining the two terms, which is essential for the cities to adapt to the future.