Bergen, Norway

The City

Bergen is the city surrounded by seven mountains, located in Western Norway. With about 280 000 inhabitants, it is Norway’s second biggest city in terms of population. The city is famous for its location between fjords and mountains, its proximity to the sea, and its famous Hanseatic wharf. The Bergen city center is very compact, and the local authority is working towards the overall goal of Bergen as a ‘Pedestrian City’. Bergen’s unique location is surrounded by beautiful nature and provides good starting points for varied outdoor activities throughout the year. However, despite the city’s proximity to the sea, it has only few public spaces nearby the sea for activities and recreation.

Green and sustainable development is an overriding principle in the municipality’s planning and business. The increase in traffic must take place through public transport, walking or cycling, providing an environmentally friendly transport pattern and reducing land use development.

 

Margrethe Vikan Sæbø. Bergen
Margrethe Vikan Sæbø. Bergen

The pilot

The idea of Bergen City Beach and Lungegård recreation park was born during the planning for expansion of the Bergen Light Rail to the area of the old Lungegård Park. The park was decided to be rebuilt on a landfill in the Store Lungegård lake, with high ambitions in line with the active and attractive city strategy. The park is going to be Bergen’s new ‘green lung’ and recreation area, with aquatic and other activities for all inhabitants. The ambition is for Lungegård Park to be the best park in Bergen for a hundred years. The municipality intends to create a ‘city beach the Bergen way’ that reflects Bergen’s identity, and a new, innovative park and beach area that is one of a kind in the Norwegian and Scandinavian context.

The project went through a series of workshops, meetings and collaboration groups between 2017 and 2020, while the planning and design phase started in 2019. Citizens were given the opportunity to express their opinions on the studies by means of an exhibition in the area. In April 2020, a jury of 8 members evaluated the feasibility studies and chose a winner: White Architects, accompanied by AFRY Advansia and DIFK (Dipl.-Ing. Florian Kosche AS) with their concept “True Blue”.

“True Blue” is based on water as the basic element which shapes and creates rooms and habitats, fostering activity and recreation. According to the concept, the city beach will be located in both the northern and southern part, with changing rooms, café and toilets, encompassing a re-natured part in the middle of the landfill. True Blue works also with different ways to experience the water. The park will be a green link and a step change in establishing a comprehensive sea promenade around the Lungegård lake, with potential for many activities while taking into account the ecosystem of plants, birds, insects, and life under water. The preliminary project has started and it will continue until April/May 2021. The coordinated design is expected to run from autumn 2021 to spring 2022.

VARCITIES will finance and implement specific visionary solutions with the objectives of:

  • Observing and developing specific governance models for green urban spaces that support sustainable, democratic and inclusive densification
  • Co-creation of a digitalized green urban space through interaction and education of citizens, students, schools and stakeholders
  • The creation of an accessible green space that measurably promotes health and well-being of park users, while preserving biodiversity in green zones
  • Demonstrating energy supply solutions for park operation that improve the local carbon footprint.

The interventions which will be implemented by VARCITIES are:

  • A digitalized urban water park, including a city beach
  • Augmented reality applications for inciting more physical activities and area exploration
  • Optimization of the urban park biodiversity
  • Bergen City Beach Health Effects Assessment.

Illustration by White Arkitekter

The future city vision

The City Council’s vision for the future is an active and attractive city, where walking becomes the most common mode of transport. This provides an environmentally friendly urban development and contributes to better public health. The city needs to grow in a functional, future-oriented and more environmentally friendly way. The wishes and needs of inhabitants have to guide the future urban development. This requires commitment and participation from all groups in society, and cooperation with the other municipalities in the region. In the ‘attractive city’ the goal is to develop a compact urban structure and a safe and inclusive city for all, facilitating diversity in business and culture. Bergen will also be a driving force for adopting new solutions and technologies to create a climate-friendly urban development.

The overall strategy is to increase the density along public transport lanes while preserving green areas. The most important project in Bergen is to change the way of travel through the new light-rail system, Bybanen.

The planned Lungegård recreation park integrates geography, green mobility concepts (light rail, bike sharing) and ecosystem services with the goal of promoting health and well-being (H&WB) through:

  • Resilient shaping of the waterfront including a beach area
  • Differentiated activity zones meeting different users and life stage
  • Greening the functional park zones with focus on biodiversity
  • Land- and water-based installations and sporting opportunities
  • Events, arrangements and installations promoting arts, theatre, concerts and sports.

 

Photograf/Bergen municipality (Nina Blågestad/Bergen Municipality)
Photograf/Bergen municipality (Nina Blågestad/Bergen Municipality)

Copyright images:
Photograf/Bergen municipality (Nina Blågestad/Bergen Municipality)
Margrethe Vikan Sæbø
Illustrations are made by White Arkitekter

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