The Lake Square at Tomtebo Beach. Several people moving around on the square

Creators explore new ways to strengthen social bonds in Umeå's new urban district

How can a neighborhood be socially sustainable over time? That's the challenge facing a team comprising architects, designers, conservators, and artists tasked with proposing ideas for the new district of Tomtebo strand in Umeå, Sweden.

-The planning of Tomtebo strand has a strong focus on ecological, social, cultural, and economic sustainability. The district will undergo expansion over many years, and social sustainability and community need to be established from the outset, but also sustained as the area develops. We hope that the creative team can help us think outside the box regarding social sustainability, says Anna Flatholm, Chief Architect of Umeå Municipality.

The counties Norrbotten and Västerbotten in northern Sweden are currently undergoing significant investments in green industry, technology, and infrastructure. These investments demand attractive and sustainable environments. Through the Visioner i Norr steg 2 (Visionaries in the North Step 2) initiative, which is part of Rådet för hållbara städer (The Council for Sustainable Cities) work, creative professionals are invited to challenge and propose alternative proposals for the future of our cities and communities.

Six municipalities are participating in the initiative, including Umeå. Each municipality has selected an area or focus they want new perspectives on. Umeå has chosen Tomtebo strand and the challenge regarding how the municipality and various property actors can together lay the groundwork for development in terms of social sustainability and ensure its growth over time as the area expands.
The initiative runs until April 4th, after which the teams that will work with each municipality will be determined. During the spring, they will draft proposals, which will be presented in the fall.

-Through Visionaries in the North Step 2, we have the opportunity to take another step towards achieving the higher goals of social sustainability in the district. We look forward to seeing concrete proposals on how we can integrate community and social contexts into the development of Tomtebo strand, says Johan Sjöström, Project Manager for Tomtebo Strand, Umeå Municipality.

About Visionaries in the North Step 2

Visionaries in the North Step 2 is part of the Council for Sustainable Cities' efforts to support municipalities in Norrbotten and Västerbotten. The project aims to strengthen the municipalities' capacity for transition. The participating municipalities are Kiruna, Gällivare, Boden, Luleå, Skellefteå, and Umeå. ArkDes is responsible for implementing the project.