(RE)DEFINE GROWTH : How to Connect Ön and the City while Preserving, Emphasising and Intensifying the Green, Rural and Recreational Qualities

University essay from Umeå universitet/Arkitekthögskolan vid Umeå universitet

Abstract: Ön is an island in central Ume River. Today Ön is a rural, green place with key habitats and historical values. In 2008 the municipality took the decision to exploit it by building city there. The decision was preceded by the emerging growth target, for Umeå, to become 200,000 inhabitants in 2050.               The research material for this paper consists of legal documents, reports, literature, interviews, and own observations. It can be divided into three main parts. The first part, which is the ‘growth discourse’, is investigated through documents concerning political strategies and influences from within the field in relation to Umeå as a city. The second part consists of research around the ‘image’ of Norrland and the third part focus on questions involving well-being through nature and the concept of Ecosystem Services, in relation to Ön.               In this paper, I advocate for an alternative plan concerning Ön and its unique set of qualities: the rural, historical, and nature dominated atmosphere adjacent to the city of Umeå. I argue that the value of this land is greater in its natural vesture, than it would be with added asphalt and concrete. The values of concern are non-monetary, but might as well become monetary in the more long-term scenario. There is mounting evidence of benefits derived from nature, when it comes to human well-being, and further that ecosystems provide services of major importance to us. Ecosystem Services are the benefits people obtain from ecosystems. Ön possesses many of these services today. It holds potential for further cultivation and capacity to become amplified as a recreation area in central Umeå.               The objective of this master thesis is to define and validate the qualities of Ön; and further, to develop a programme of possible interventions, in order to preserve and intensify the present atmosphere. This is conducted by identifying Ecosystem Services in the current context; and ways to enhance them, in order to propose an alternative plan for Ön.

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