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Norwegian suburb makes sustainable living easy

Photo: COWI
Local convenience stores, schools, green spaces and leisure facilities reduce the need for cars in the proposed Norwegian suburb Brøset.
Residents in a proposed Norwegian suburb will be able to live sustainably without having to give up modern conveniences. COWI’s project proposal for the neighbourhood promotes a sustainable approach which does not equal deprivation and restrictions.

A car, computers and a TV that is turned on around the clock are commonplace in many families’ households. With this lifestyle often follows a good deal of guilt for being an enemy of the environment.

But it does not have to be that way.

A proposal submitted by COWI shows how the Norwegian town, Brøset, four kilometres from the city centre of Trondheim, can be planned sustainably without citizens having to do without their modern conveniences.

COWI, together with Architect Kuismanen AS from Finland, has formed one of four teams that Trondheim Municipality appointed in autumn 2010 to develop proposals for Brøset’s development.

City designed for green lifestyle
At the core of COWI's proposal is the idea that modern technologies can make it possible for everyone in Brøset to live a sustainable life.

The idea is that sustainability should not be reserved for the most dedicated and resourceful residents - even citizens who are not particularly motivated should be able to lead a sustainable lifestyle.

"We have especially worked on sustainability initiatives that are integrated into the overall layout of the suburb so we affect everyone no matter what they do," says Mette Mogensen, Development Manager at COWI.

Renewable energy
A cornerstone of the plan for Brøset is a flexible energy supply and district heating which will eventually be able to receive energy from carbon-neutral sources such as waste incineration, biogas and solar energy regardless if they are located nearby or far away.

The common energy supply will be optimised in a smart grid that adjusts power consumption based on the supply of energy from the electrical grid.
"This will happen, for instance, when smart meters ensure that the washing machine starts when there is an over-production of renewable energy in the network. This could be in the middle of the night. At the same time the night's surplus power can recharge electric vehicles and the extra car batteries," explains Maja Nørgaard Brandt, Sustainability Consultant from COWI.

Urban development in stages

By developing the city in several phases, it will be possible to exploit the sustainable technologies as they develop and mature. In this way residents can take part in developing the town.

Brøset will be home to approximately 5000 residents who can enjoy a complete community with a school, activity centre, playgrounds, green spaces and facilities for outdoor activities such as running, skiing and winter bathing.

Public transport, walking and biking trails and a square with convenience stores will also make it attractive to live a sustainable life in Brøset.

By Helen Marie Bennett, hmbe@cowi.com 

Published: 03.03.2011


About the Brøset project

In autumn 2010, Trondheim Municipality selected four teams to develop proposals for the urban development of Brøset. The goal of Trondheim Municipality is to develop a suburb that reduces CO2 emissions by 60-90 percent compared to similar neighbourhoods and where the architecture is paramount and promotes a climate-friendly lifestyle.

COWI's team included landscape architects, water and environmental specialists, waste experts, traffic specialists, socio-economists and specialists in urban design, sustainable construction and energy supply.

LAST UPDATED: 13.01.2017