Himmerland Housing Association in Aalborg East has won the Byland Prize for 2019, Denmark’s top award for special efforts to promote innovative urban environments. The vision was to enhance the identity of the housing association and future-proof the physical setting with cheap and sustainable homes.
The project is regarded as one of the biggest urban renewal projects in Aalborg in recent times. COWI is the principal consultant and has optimised all engineering services including project design, construction management, demolition, renovation and optimisation of run-down facades and outdoor areas. Among other things, several one and two-room flats have been combined into four-room homes with their own terrace or garden. The project also provided for a closer link between indoor and outdoor areas, and a courtyard with a community centre where residents can meet. To cater for climate change and potential flooding, water play areas and rain gardens have been laid out for residents in the area.
COWI also produced an overall plan to develop the area around Aalborg East. From this, the green areas have been expanded and there are more places where residents from Himmerland Housing Association can meet up. These include a health centre with doctors, physiotherapists and a pharmacy, and senior and healthcare administration offices. A local sports centre has also been built for clubs and leisure activities, which are intended to attract more people to the district.
The development of Aalborg East and Himmerland Housing Association is the outcome of close collaboration between COWI, the municipality, the housing association and local residents. The result is that what was a run-down and socially deprived area has blossomed to provide cheap and sustainable homes which people can still afford.