Case Study Tartu 2

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Name ECOBAY: New Sustainable City for Estonia
Location Tallin
Country Estonia
Office Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, Landscape architects: Møller & Grønborg
Client Ecobay OÜ
Completion Not mentioned. Project submitted for outline planning approval
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Core Question 1: In how far does this project reveal your concept of future landscapes?

Cities are growing more rapidly, people are producing more waste, nature suffers. That is why architects, landscape architects, developers, engineers, scientists have to think about future benefits not only for people but also for nature. Future landscape is sustainable, energy saving, comfortable, nature friendly and "green" in all aspects.

Landscape and/or urban context

  • Biogeography, cultural features, overall character, history and dynamics

Ecobay is a masterplan for a sustainable urban area located in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. The project area is 481,000 m² site area and 318,000 m² floor area. The site consists of raised sea-bed and landfill. Natura 2000 nature reserve on the Paljassaare Peninsula on the Baltic Sea is close to the area. In year 2008, Schmidt Sammer Lassen Lrchitects won a 1st prize in invited competition. The masterplan will be realised in 15–20 years’ time. The masterplan will provide a range of different building typologies, creating a new district with housing, local shops, nursery schools, primary and secondary schools, commercial development and green recreation areas.

Cultural/social/political context

  • Brief explanation of culture, political economy, legal framework

Government in Estonia and local city goverments makes their policies more related to sustainable, nature friendly development. Also EU legislation gives more guidelines and restrictions about planning and construction process, greenery, nature preservation etc. More and more money is being invested in "green" projects and public education about "green thinking".

The green agenda of Ecobay project supplements and supports the town plan’s traditional guidelines with a number of new "green" ideas. One of them would be expansion of public transport with electric-powered busses and trams or light railways. Planners had negotiated about it with the city authorities in Tallinn.

"Ecobay will be a benchmark project for sustainable urban development of the future and will exceed the current stringent EU legislative requirements." /Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects/

Spatial analysis of area/project/plan

  • What are the main structural features?

On one side the project area borders the Baltic Sea and on the other side is Tallin city residental complexes. The sea water gives the main shape and main character to the landscape as well as wind and local vegetation. The planners have been taken all these features into account during the planning process.

  • How has it been shaped? Were there any critical decisions?

The master plan has organic shape, with soft, flowing lines. Instead of adopting a rigid grid, the scheme introduces a system of dunes spreading across the entire site. It is rational because both orientation and massing will respond to the seasonal trajectory of the sun and prevailing wind direction. Planners have combined the function of the city like business and housing districts with natural relief and other local characteristic features.

Analysis of program/function

  • What are the main functional characteristics?

The Ecobay is envisaged as a new, independent and sustainable, mixed-usage district with business, residental, leasure functions. The project aims to utilise sources of alternative energy, energy-aware building methods and an appropriate green strategy for infrastructure development. The green strategy includes:

1 energy

2 water

3 ecology

4 soil and landscape

5 infrastructure

6 microclimate

7 waste

  • How have they been expressed or incorporated?

1 Heating supply from excess heat derived from sewage water; sea water for cooling for office buildings; electricity for street lighting generated by wind turbines.

2 Building design with grey water systems; filtratin of storm water; the cleaned sewage water from waste water treatment works for irrigation of all public grenery.

3 An extensive landscaping and planting programme; biodiversity corridors connecting green areas and the existing Natura 2000 nature reserve.

4 Cleaning and remediation of ground contamination in the process of establishing the Ecobay Development.

5 Green strategy for all infrastructure development - expansion of public transport with electric busses and trams; all public amenities located within a ten minute walk from all homes.

6 Reduction of wind speeds by grid and dune structure; buildings shape to absorb high wind speeds; trees and bushes will create additional shelter for areas of public realm.

7 Automated and centralised waste collection and recycling systems;individual building clusters with integral, separated refuse chutes to accommodate differing waste typologies.

Analysis of design/planning process

  • How was the area/project/plan formulated and implemented?

The Ecobay project is only in first stage. It has won the competition and it is approved by local city government as a future development strategy for new district. For implementation in the future main factors has to be taken into account:

1) Political - local government has to take into account the new approach which is defined in the project. Development strategy of the city has to be orientated to nature friendly development and "green thinking".

2) Social - needs and interests of local society will be one of the main factors.

3) Ecological - in the new district there will be energy saving constructions and systems, alternative energy use by waste and wind, many green areas. The main idea of whole project is sustaainable development and minimal harm to nature.

  • Were there any important consultations/collaborations?

Illustration: Map/diagram/sketches photos and background notes

Analysis of use/users

  • How is the area/project/plan used and by whom?

The project aims that in the new Ecobay district will be living up to 6,000 people in 15- 20 years' time. As the masterplan provides a range of different building typologies like housing, local shops, schools and kindergardens, businesses and green recreation areas the users could be all age, all social status and even different nationality people.

  • Is the use changing? Are there any issues?

Probobly in the beginning of the construction there will be small number of users. It depends what is the building stages and development strategy step by step. Use will change and increase gradually if it is ment to built for example residental areas first, then later schools, businesses and parks. In later stages after project will be finished use type and intensity probably will stay stabil. It depends on many factors like social, economical, political, cultural.

Core Question 2: What is the role of landscape architecture in this project?

The project Ecobay is not only about building architecture and districts functions. Landscape architects have played very important role in this project. We can see how local characteristic nature features are used to create design of whole new urban district. It shows how the identity of the place is being created by urban outdoor space - parks, roads, promenades, terrain and other. It is not only beautiful sights, it is sustainable landscape with many functions.

You may add 1-2 more core questions as discussed in your group

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