Tor Tells the World About Malmo’s Bo01 Area

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Today I met a man who spends his days meeting with people and officials from all over the world. He’s Tor Fossum, the Project Manager of the City of Malmo’s Environmental Department. He talks again and again to visitors from the UK, China, the US and others from around the world about the Bo01-area, the most exciting part of the city.

It’s an area borne from a bad time. In the late 1980s, Malmo was down and out. “Imagine, if you will, that we lost 30,000 jobs, out of a population of 270,000. Things were grey and dim,” said Tor. The closing of a Saab plant and a large shipyard was disastrous. But the city’s leaders and their ultimate way out was magnificent.

Using state and city funds, they built the Western Harbor’s Bo01 Area, which today is a marvel of environmental sustainability and self sufficiency. More than 6600 people now work in this rejuvenated green community, with 250 companies located there and more than 1000 flats that are all zero emission and zero waste. And up to 15,000 people flock to the beachfront area that was created in reclaimed land near the development on summer evenings because it’s the coolest place to be in the city.

The details are inspiring–rainwater is funneled from the green roofs and used in ponds, fountains and long channels to water flowers and plants. Many of the apartments have separate sinks into which they can throw food waste that gets piped to a biofuel plant and the methane gas emitted is used for to create biofuel that powers city buses. A single wind turbine, combined with thousands of solar panels and the creative use of heat pumps (that harness energy by changing the temperature of water cooled from pipes under the sea or underground) provides all of the electricity in the Western Harbor.

Combining the above with ubiquitous broadband so people can work at home, bus service and bicycle friendly layouts, B001 is a model for a truly sustainable and admirable way of life. No wonder Tor has so many visitors these days!