1st Urbego Workshop, Gothenburg, Sweden
16 young planning professionals were gathered at the first Urbego workshop, held in Gothenburg, within the context of the 56th IFHF World Congress. The City Planning Authority of Gothenburg has invited the new generation of professionals in order to develop a dialogue and new proposals on a real case study of the city, which is inscribed within the vision of the Rivercity project of Gothenburg.
The object of the workshop was to the redesign the Vågmästareplatsen, a circulation node situated at the North West side of Gothenburg. Sofia Hellberg, project manager for the sustainable urban mobility plan (SUMP) for Gothenburg made a short presentation to the group about the new circulation plan and challenged them to reconsider the “asphalt desert” of Vågmästareplatsen and its perspectives. After visiting the site and discussing with other members of the city authorities, the participants started the analysis of the material they had to tackle with.
A real asset for the group was its international profile, with members coming from USA and South Africa, to Greece, Denmark or Hungary. Moreover, the background of the participants varied from architecture and planning, to urban economy and urban governance. As a result, the proposals for the site of Vågmästareplatsen were sought through many angles, taking into consideration not only the urban forms and flows, but also the social and economical factors and the public policies required.
A holistic approach to the challenges of the site, lead the group to the decision of examining multiple scenarios of transformation. The basic factors that diversified the scenarios were the removal or not of the major infrastructure mass and the decision on the circulation of the tram. As a result, three basic proposals were formed : keeping both the infrastructure and the elevated tramway, reusing the infrastructure and changing the tram to ground or totally removing the infrastructure. These final proposals were varying in terms of ideas, but common points were identified in the inclusive character, the valorization of existing urban elements, and the need for creative public space. These proposals can also be considered as a step-by-step temporal approach to the transformation of the site of Vågmästareplatsen.
The proposals were presented during the third day of the IFHP World Congress.
The acceptance and interest expressed by the congress participants encouraged the team of Urbego. What is more, the City Planning Authority of Gothenburg made prove of their open spirit and intention to bridge the gap between different generations of planners: after their consultation in 2011 of ten international teams for their Rivercity project, they trusted a group of younger professionals with a smaller scale intervention.
The enthusiasm and willingness to work towards a dynamic and inclusive city for tomorrow, begins by acting today. Both the team of Urbego and the City Planning Authority of Gothenburg are willing to work towards that direction!
The team would like to specially thank Lisa Wistand and Bo Aronsson for their positive energy during the workshop.