Rk-Sk Productive Landscapes

According to the DK2050 ‘Green Networks’ scenario, all the small Danish cities will have to use their specific qualities in order to thrive as green communities in 2050.

Ringkøbing-Skjern (Rk-Sk) is rich in nature. The most valuable asset of Denmark’s largest municipality is shared by all its inhabitants, as everybody can enjoy the resplendent views over the Skjern River (Skjern Å), the Ringkøbing Lagoon (Fjord), the Dune Landscapes and the Skovbjerg and Varde Hill Islands.

Could the nature be a source of quality life and growth?

Self-sufficient by nature

Within the ‘Green Networks’ scenario, Rk-Sk can achieve self-sufficiency based upon decentralization as a means of achieving a dynamics of growth within its own territory. Without any possibility of synergetic effects with the distant largest Danish cities and engines of growth, Rk-Sk will have to count on its own capacity to develop as a coherent region.

Cooperation as resource

Rk-Sk has no larger capital city, but a network of cities which are depending on their interaction and synergy to successfully provide working places, leisure and cultural services for the inhabitants and tourists. The city network is flexible and can adapt to changing needs and new developments.

Service as resource

This opens up for investment opportunities within the welfare service sector. Welfare services could be provided for the growing segment of elderly people, and combined with site-specific qualities.

Difference as resource

The nature is a common resource for tourism, business and everyday life. Each city has a unique potential to develop as a themed entity corresponding to its specific business profile within the regional network, and the unique qualities offered by the surrounding nature.

This differentiated development corresponds to the new travel patterns of tourists attracted by specialized environments and unique experiences. Holiday is a lifestyle!

New chains of production

The existing industries will have to increasingly cooperate to provide new services and products by using each other as a resource within the production and sales chain.

1. Nature & Green energy/The Sea Farm

In the next decades, the tourism will create new development opportunities. The need for offering unique experiences will encourage the development of new prototypes, which in turn will require an innovation of existing production chains and industries.

With fish stocks declining and a growing consumer demand, Rk-Sk could focus on fish farming as a new growth opportunity. Unlocking the potential of aquaculture would help meeting nutrition requirements and provide employment. By combining aquaculture with the huge interest for summerhouses in attractive surroundings, a new hybrid can be invented.

The Sea Farm unites fish and seaweed production with sustainable living in the middle of pristine nature, without consuming the natural capital. It is conceived as a modular ‘floating village’ made of components produced by the nearby metal industries. This offers flexibility to absorb development needs, and supports the local businesses. The emergent ‘productive community’ has symbiotic relationships with its surroundings, enjoying an unprecedented nature experience.

2. Tourism & Nature experiences/The Open Air Industry Museum

A windmill turbine typically lasts 25 years, which means that all the wind farms of Rk-Sk will have to be decommissioned by 2050. How to deal with this large scale decommissioning effort?

What if we used the existing windmill manufacturing industry to assist with the cutting process and up-cycling of the towers? Tower sections could be easily transformed into fish tanks or huts, which in turn could be placed in the heathlands or Skjern River areas as tourist shelters.

This will enable tourists to experience the magnificent landscape from the first row.

By laying wind turbine blades throughout the Skjern River wetland areas, a network of elevated walkways can be created, thereby improving the access to the rich and beautiful mosaic of meandering watercourses, shallow lakes, meadows and marshy reed beds.

A part of the wetland area could accommodate vestiges of the industrial past like early fishing vessels retrofitted to meet new needs for cabin hotels or other tourist facilities. The first Open Air Industry Museum in Denmark, situated amid the habitats and wildlife of the Skjern River, will reflect the fascination with the Danish industry and technology history, while further contributing to the attractiveness of Rk-Sk as unique tourist destination.

3. Welfare & green production/The Greenhouse Farm

Many of the old disused farms of Rk-Sk could be retrofitted into effective energy plants still capable of producing food as part of a new food production network driven by major players within the food industry like the Danish dairy giant Arla.

By 2050, a symbiosis between large scale industry and small scale agriculture could emerge: Arla supports small scale-farming and micro-dairies as a means of improving its own products, or developing new ones.

The optimized building envelope of the Greenhouse Farm allows microclimate control to achieve optimal growing environment. Biogas plants and sun cells provide green energy, rainwater is collected and used to water the crops, while organic waste produces nutrient to support the fruit and vegetable production.

Integrating intensive cultivation areas within the retrofitted farm encourages the involvement of senior citizens in agricultural production and processing. As a part of a strong social network, the elderly can immerse themselves in the many farming activities of self-sufficient farm living.

More than a production site, the retrofitted Greenhouse Farm could become an attractive care centre for elderly, a new sustainable hybrid uniting production with welfare services and social being-together amid self-grown fruit trees, vegetables, sheep and cows.

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 Ringkøbing-Skjern

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

Program: Scenarios for a fossil-free Denmark in 2050, development of Ringkøbing-Skjern as part of the Green Networks scenario

Year: 2014

Location: Ringkøbing-Skjern, 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'), Pauliina Koskinen Tonboe

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