Our ideas about what constitutes the good urban life are changing and continually give rise to revision of the utopia of the past. The concept of “Productive City” has its root in the beginning of the 20th Century, when first metropolises rise. As a result the City was conceived as “An immense and tumultuous shipyard, agile, mobile and dynamic in every detail” (Manifesto of Futurist Architecture, Antonio Sant’Elia, 1914) and infrastructure finally became proper part of the urban development. In the last decades architects have systematically excluded the productive economy -and so therefore those industrial areas that were representing the idea of futuristic city- from the wave of regeneration. The chosen site rise in a mostly unbuilt context which shows big potentiality: not only it is located near the fiords in a beautiful natural context but it is also a strategic spot because of its proximity to the border and to the busy E4 highway. These characteristics gave us the opportunity to re-think this productive area as a liveable district.
We consider it as a machine that works as a sustainable and independent centre and that finds its strength in the connection between the two towns. A Smart City is made of a smart environment, where smart citizens build an economy based on a sustainable and smart mobility. The motor of this machine is a system that reuse the energy generated from the city’s productive features: in our case, energy comes from trains’ slowdown and offshore wind farms; food is cultivated with waste collection and transformation. Furthermore a smart design looks for advantages in areas that are commonly considered to be not functional: the inaccessible residual area on the outskirts of the town is declared a Natural Reserve, upgraded to a recreational landscape with access to the public and repopulated by animals and plants. Moreover, a smart community needs a lively cultural district: a new art museum, a theatre and a community centre are connected with a pedestrian path that leads to the piers. Finally, big importance is given to outdoor life and health.
The waterfront development hosts a number of recreational features as restaurants, bars, hostels and concerts venues while, on the other side of the estuary, beaches and a sport centre rise. The combination of a sustainable economy and energy, recreational elements and touristic venues transform the residual area in unique spot that connect the two towns and support their growth.