Middelfart CleanTech Valley

Today, the small cities are threatened by the large cities’ explosive growth. Can Middelfart, a small Danish city with almost 15.000 residents, manage to exploit its proximity to the much larger city of Odense and The East Jutland Urban Belt? Could interdisciplinary partnerships foster the much needed innovation, and secure Middelfart’s transformation towards becoming a Green Model City?

Technological innovation through partnerships

According to the DK2050 ‘Green Networks’ scenario, the next decades will experience a growing focus on technological innovation, while the state will increasingly support bottom up initiatives for green transformation. For such initiatives to be successful, a pro-active approach of facilitating processes and collaborations is a must.

If a city the size of Middelfart is not enough to provide the necessary dynamics of growth, could cooperation be a key driver for success?

What if Middelfart used its central location with respect to Fredericia, Odense and Aarhus in order to become a center for cleantech specialized firms? This would ensure a transformation process where strategic partnerships could foster innovation, growth and development based on new opportunities within the environment and energy sector.

Cost-free renovation: Middelfart Model 1.0

Middelfart municipality has already built up a solid international reputation for an energy renovation model where energy savings pay all costs of energy renovation.

The Middelfart Model project, where a public-private partnership retrofitted 100 public buildings, has unveiled a potential for energy consumption savings of 21%, and has brought the European Energy Service Award 2010 to the city.

Middelfart Model 2.0

What if the city extended the concept to the industrial buildings stock?

Retrofitting the industrial buildings in areas with optimal accessibility could turn the existing building stock into a valuable asset for a long-term strategy of attracting new businesses to the city. Offering rental space in attractive areas could be combined with a policy of attracting cleantech businesses and technologies. This could further the know-how from the earlier green transformation endeavours. It would contribute to creating a dynamic business environment, where specialized businesses could cluster within the same area, creating new growth opportunities. It would kick-start a new Middelfart Model 2.0!

Middelfart Cleantech Valley

Retrofitting the existing industrial area could create a magnet effect, bringing know-how and new technologies to the city. The industrial area could be further densified, while specific areas could be offered for 1:1 experiments. Energy-producing public spaces along with open cleantech laboratories could further the attractiveness of the area as a destination for ‘cleantech tourists’.

Free student housing and cleantech jobs

By offering free student housing to the students form the neighbouring towns, while in the same time starting up collaborations with the cleantech businesses aimed at offering training contracts, Middelfart could achieve a unique position as a green company city.

A unique and alternative campus area could emerge, where students live close to leading cleantech businesses which are ideal places for apprenticeship. This in turn will further the emergence of new micro-businesses within a dynamic knowledge environment.

1:1 innovation

In collaboration with energy production, wastewater treatment, resource supply companies, the municipality makes public spaces available as 1:1 cleantech showrooms, showcasing pilot projects for alternative energy production. The public spaces will showcase changing technologies combined with leisure and recreational activities, thereby attracting both citizens, companies and tourists.

Cleantech symbiosis

Over a period of time, the former industrial area will be further densified. New needs for transformation and retrofitting will emerge. The Cleantech Valley companies will be eventually connected to each other within a larger symbiosis system, an environmentally friendly energy system using circulation, reprocessing and reuse of water, waste and energy. The system will eventually be extended to larger areas of the city of Middelfart, and new symbiosis networks will emerge.

Middelfart Reef

Like in many other coastal areas in Denmark, coastal protection is a mandatory part of the future in Middelfart. Dikes and protective systems will have to be erected in order to shield the city from flooding. In the same time, there will be an increasing need for restoration and maintenance of habitats along the coastlines due to higher sea temperatures and pollution.

By creating a continuous protective system of interconnected reefs parallel with the coastline, a protection of the endangered city areas can be achieved. A number of interconnected water environments emerge, which combine areas for water sports and recreation with habitat zones for wildlife into a unique catalyst for tourism and pristine nature.

The Middelfart Reef will become an integrated part of the cleantech symbiosis network.

Little Belt Bridge 2.0

A unique partnership between the neighbouring cities of Middelfart and Fredericia, together with a number of cleantech companies and private investors, could contribute to returning the old Little Belt Bridge to its former glory to mark Middelfart’s new development.

The retrofitting of the old bridge from 1935, once the first step in linking Denmark together by road, offers the opportunity of integrating energy producing windmills, along with dwellings with amazing views over Little Belt, the strait between the Danish island of Funen and Jutland.

Dubbed ‘Bifrost’ like the magic rainbow bridge linking the world with the realm of gods in Scandinavian mythology, it will be the first bridge to surpass ‘bridge walking’ by offering ‘bridge living’, while in the same time literally building bridge between climate, businesses and citizens as a new symbol for clean technologies as engines of economic growth.

Client: Danish Architecture Center DAC, in partnership with Realdania, along with the Danish Ministry of Culture, the Danish Ministry of Environment, the Danish Ministry of Business and Growth, and the Danish Ministry of Climate and Building, City of Middelfart

Project support: Grundejernes Investeringsfond (Landowners’ Investment Fund), Statens Kunstfond (Danish Arts Foundation), Rambøll

Program: Scenarios for a fossil-free Denmark in 2050, development of The City of Middelfart as part os the Green Networks scenario

Year: 2014

Location: Middelfart, Denmark

Team: Serban Cornea, Kristina Jordt Adsersen, Henrik Ulsfort, Marcin Kruk, Julia Berenguer, Martina Skalicka, Carina Nissen, Claudia Scappini

Collaborators: Damvad & Kairos Future (report ‘Fire veje til grøn vækst’ - 'Four roads towards green growth'), Rambøll Engineers (report 'Grader af grøn omstilling' - 'Degrees of green transition')

Status: Commission, MUTOPIA has been head of the entire architectural production, as well as co-curator along with DAC