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Green Urban Planning/Landscape Architecture 2020

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Circular City Blocks / NorthBank | 2019


Circular City Blocks / NorthBank | 2019
Circular City Blocks / NorthBank | 2019

Tampere, Finland

Project owner and circular economy specialist:
Cireco Finland Ltd., Tampere, Finland
Architects: Jolma Architects Ltd., Tampere, Finland
Circular economy design: Evolving Symbiotic Cities Ltd., Tampere, Finland


Circular City Blocks / NorthBank | 2019
Circular City Blocks / NorthBank | 2019

Project Description

Circular City Blocks Circular City Blocks explores three options for a circular economy in the district of Hiedanranta, Tampere in Finland. The proposals demonstrate a sustainable future in which architecture, infrastructure, and urban design come together to create an efficient city block that reduces energy and resource consumption and promotes social cohesion. Circular City Blocks concept Long-term sustainability in the city is dependent on social cohesion as well as efficiency in material and energy consumption. Circular City Blocks employs a range of social, functional, material, and infrastructure techniques in an integrated approach to create a resilient city block full of life that evolves and adapts to the changing needs of the city. Although the proposal is site-specific, the underlying concepts are designed to be flexible enough to be implemented in other locations. Social cohesion With a high emphasis on the sharing economy, Circular City Blocks not only promotes efficiencies in resource management but also fosters inter-generational social cohesion at the block level. Both facilities and services are shared in easily accessible spaces at the ground level that enlivens the street and offers opportunities for residents to interact. Efficiencies in space usage are encouraged through the implementation of multifunctional spaces carefully planned to maximize the 24-hour economy. Timeshare Spaces include the kindergarten which can be used by families as a social space in the evening and the lunch restaurant which can be hired as a party space or open as a café run as a social enterprise in the evenings. On-Demand spaces include guest rooms, conference rooms, and laundry facilities that can be booked online or through an app. Continuous use spaces include the gym and sauna and shower facilities. When these continuous use facilities are shared there is a reduced need for these functions to be included in private dwellings, thus making both space and resource savings. Design for flexibility A challenge of modern city living is finding apartments that suit different stages of life. In the Circular City Block concept, adaptability is built into the fabric of the buildings. All building solutions allow for apartments to grow and adapt to the changing needs of residents as their families grow and contract. For example, with the central shaft building, the mass of the building is supported by the central column, meaning that internal walls do not need to be load-bearing and can be moved to create larger or smaller spaces. The loft apartments offer residents the flexibility to partition as they wish. The installation floor allows for kitchens, bathrooms, and toilets to be located anywhere within the building’s footprint, thus allowing for future flexible development. The end result is flexible solutions that do not require residents to move out when they need more space and can reduce their living costs when their family contracts in size. Design for disassembly The Circular City Blocks concept ensures value throughout the entire lifecycle of the built fabric through innovative construction techniques that allow for future disassembly and reuse. Constructed of reusable steel and wooden elements, buildings can be partially or totally demolished, extended, or renovated as needed. The modular approach allows for easy disassembly, thus not only reducing the amount of waste material but also the amount of energy needed to disassemble the structures. At the end of the building’s lifecycle, these modular units can also easily be used in other projects without the need to process the materials into new elements. Resource efficiency At the block level, reduced resource consumption and increased production and efficiency can be achieved. Rainwater harvesting and sharing, and greywater recycling between buildings is increased through shared inter-building infrastructure. The effective treatment of greywater on-site reduces water consumption by up to 90%. Biofilters that clean water in a passive, and almost maintenance-free way are included in the system, while heat-recovery systems utilize waste energy. The block-wide vacuum sanitation system both recovers wastewater and also collect biowaste for nutrient capture and biogas production. The system produces about 5 litres of sludge per person per day, from which it generates about 12.5 l of biogas. The medium depth geothermal heat production system efficiently generates enough energy for the entire block. By implementing local energy production and storage at the block level not only is energy consumption reduced during operation, but material and energy consumption is reduced at the construction phase, with less infrastructure needed to integrate into the national grid.