A Greener Approach to City Planning

Published 2018-12-21

Sustainable city planning, diverse urban areas, green lungs, ecosystem services and climate-smart construction. These are some of the questions that are being raised by Oskar Tagesson, architect at Semrén & Månsson. He is also the driving force behind The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation's newly founded city planning group in Gothenburg. The goal is to create a green and sustainable city where people can live in harmony with nature.

”As an architect, there is always a tonne of aspects to keep in mind - from accessibility to material persistence. Regarding the animal kingdom as one of these aspects - i.e., another client to deliver to - is a natural step towards increasing the role and responsibility of architects”, says Oskar Tagesson. Already in his thesis, 'Artland', at the University of Lund he explored the art of creating diverse urban areas.

The commitment comes from a personal interest in nature and animals and a desire to meet responsibilities we face concerning the loss of biodiversity. As it turns out, this drive is entirely compatible with the interest in designing buildings. In his work at Semrén & Månsson, Oskar Tagesson can contribute with advice at an early stage in the project process, as well as help navigate environmental protection issues to prevent mistakes. More specific examples are linking different green areas, building with minimal environmental impact, and mitigating the effects that any project always has through various compensation measures, e.g., putting up bat houses.

”My hope for the future is to take this even further and integrate solutions that benefit people and animals alike. For example, developing entire façade structures adapted to different species, with cracks for bats, various sizes of holes for different birds or walls made of reed that work as an insect hotel”, says Oskar Tagesson.

In addition to his work in the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation's urban planning group, Oskar Tagesson is also part of Semrén & Månsson's sustainability group. He feels that there are continuous correlations between his non-profit work and his role as an architect.

”One perk is for example, that I have gotten extremely familiar with the written policies of Gothenburg City - which is very useful when you want to influence the work with city planning. I am also gradually building a network with, for example, biologists, experts in wood construction, and landscape architects, all whom in turn could potentially become valuable partners in Semrén & Månsson's projects.”

Why do we need nature in the city

To have a rich and diverse nature within cities is essential for both climate adaptation and human well-being, living conditions and recreation. As an increasing amount of people move to cities, having easy access to nature is crucial also to strengthen the human connection with nature. Even more so for children and young people who can’t travel on their own. Nature in the local environment acts as a reminder to safeguard and protect animals and nature, outside of the cities as well.

About the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation

The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation is a non-profit organization that was founded over a hundred years ago by a group of scientists. With over 226,000 members it has become the largest and most influential environmental organization in Sweden, which, among other things, focus on pursuing environmental villains and influencing politicians and legislation. The organization has been active in Gothenburg since 1959 working to preserve critical natural values and to improve the city’s immediate vicinity. Oskar Tagesson and the urban development group are continuing this work with a new perspective and new ideas.