Forestation and residential development might seem like terms at odds with one another, but Danish firm EFFEKT, in partnership with a municipality in Denmark, is hoping to prove otherwise. By joining human and natural habitats in a symbiotic system, they aim to create a case study for sustainable housing for the future.
A bare agricultural field in the eastern part of Middelfart will soon be transformed into a new forest-neighborhood district. The field will be populated with a cluster of small communities that foreground the environment, biodiversity, and the sharing of resources.
Naturbyen (which translates to Nature Village) will be an international demonstration project for how sustainable housing can work hand in hand with afforestation (the establishment of a forest in an area where there was no previous tree cover) and circular resource thinking. It will also aid Denmark in reaching its national target of covering 20% of its landmass with forest by the year 2100, as well as create healthy and socially connected neighborhoods and communities.
“With a project like Naturbyen we help raise the bar for future residential neighborhoods and strengthen the competencies within sustainable construction and urban planning, so we can reduce CO2 emissions and be an inspiration for others both nationally and internationally,” says Mayor of Middelfart Municipality, Johannes Lundsfryd Jensen.
The 220 new homes will offer an alternative to the traditional suburban model. These will be arranged in clusters of 15 to 25 around a shared courtyard. The houses will have access to smaller, private terraces with the landscape and spaces between the houses shared between the residents and intended for recreational and social purposes. Where lawns would typically be, forest areas will be established. In reducing the size of the private gardens, resident interaction is increased, as is the opportunity to cultivate a common forest surrounding the homes. Here, edible crops such as fruits, nuts, root vegetables and mushrooms will be grown. Similarly, local composting and small livestock will enable residents to nurture the forest.
The homes are designed along energy-efficient principles, with natural materials and carbon negative construction methods. The philosophy behind Naturbyen is to build and live with a small footprint in simple homes with high quality and functionality. The homes will be built from natural and recyclable materials with a main focus on timber.
“By combing the latest forestry research with an urban planning strategy for suburban areas that focuses on sharing outdoor areas and optimizing infrastructure, we can live with the same density but make room for more ‘nature’ – in this case an urban food forest creating a healthy living environment for all species,” says Sinus Lynge, partner at EFFEKT.
The Ideal City – a crowd-sourced recipe for building the cities of the future.