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GULLBERGSVASS: future challenges


The process of urbanization is a global trend seen in most larger cities - Gothenburg included. Cities function as magnets for working and living in the sense that people to a higher extent move from rural areas to urban areas causing a rapidly growing urban population. This poses significant challenges when it comes to urban development and the need for cities to respond has brought about a hot debate on the topic of densification.


Gothenburg is now in the middle of a densification process with the ambition of creating a strong urban core for the region. The plan from the municipality is to expand the central areas by doubling the size of the city centre and a key strategy is to focus on new developments in underused central locations (Göteborgs Stad, 2012). It is in this context that Gullbergsvass plays an important part in what the future of Gothenburg will look like.


So, as a way of responding to the growing population, Gothenburg is becoming more dense and the decisions made in terms of urban planning influence how we will live and function in the city. When tackling these aspects, an integrated approach is required and there is a need to ask questions such as - what is the future city? Through this exhibition, this is being explored in the context of Gullbergsvass with the use of hybrid architecture. By stitching together architecture, landscape and infrastructure with already existing qualities, it could provide an alternative way of densification where synergies are created through mixtures and overlaps of various programs, spaces and scales.


Climate change, a crisis described as one of the biggest challenges of our times (EEA, 2020), is continuously affecting the present but also the future existence of today’s urban developments. Gothenburg as the second largest city of Sweden, is facing a period where projected densification processes and increased climate-related risks are simultaneously evolving. Within the focus of climate-related threats, increased flooding and heavy rain events will play a major role in the city’s future resilience. On the one hand it is the geographical location in the southwest of Sweden which will cause increased water pressure through precipitation. On the other hand, the closeness to the sea will have a significant impact on Gothenburg’s blue structures.


As an anchor point of Göta Älv, Säveån and Möndalsån, Gullbergsvass belongs to these areas, where blue structures and their surroundings are continuously changed by the rising sea level. Water dynamics are affecting Gullbergsvass today, will change the site tomorrow and also in 80 years where the expected sea level rise of 80 centimeters will flood major parts of the area (Climate Change Post, 2020). The upcoming questions of how Gothenburg can adapt to such changes and of how architects and urban planners can tackle these challenges through design have been explored through the scope of hybrid architecture.

Climate Change Post (2020) Sea level rise in Sweden in the future, [online]. Available at: (Accessed: 22.12.2020).


EEA -European Environment Agency (2020) Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our times, [online]. Available at: (Accessed: 22.12.2020).

Göteborgs Stad (2012) Rivercity Gothenburg Vision, [online]. Available at: (Accessed: 22.12.2020)​

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