July 2020

Bakkegårdene – from bare ground to the circular district of the future in Holstebro

Bakkegårdene is a new, visionary urban development project in Holstebro, which will create Denmark's first circular district on a private initiative. In terms of energy and resources the project is 100% included in its own cycle. The project contains more than 550 new homes and incorporates initiatives that meet a wide range of UN sustainable development goals. Bakkegårdene supports thereby the sustainable development of the municipality.

Today, the area at Holstebro’s old agricultural college lays as a bare field. It is an area less than two kilometres from the city centre with an unresolved urban development potential. Within a few years a new district will shoot up in the area: Bakkegårdene – one of Denmark’s first circular residential areas.

“With Bakkegårdene, the ambition is to prove that with thought-through urban planning and design-technical solutions we can create a new, large residential area that in terms of energy and resources can be included in its own circuit. We have worked extensively with the circular mindset and the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs) in the project to create a district that is as sustainable and future-proof as possible on all parameters,” says Mette Geertsen, who is the creative leader for Urban Planning at Årstiderne Arkitekter.

When the Bakkegårdene is finished, the area will spread over more than 45 hectares. It is Årstiderne Arkitekter and Arkitektfirmaet Bo Christensen who have developed the project.

UN sustainable development goals as starting point
Bakkegårdene will incorporate initiatives that support selected SDGs, focusing on three main themes: Landscape, Resources and Social Sustainability. The project strengthens the area’s existing nature with a focus on biodiversity and quality of life for the area’s residents. At the same time, small-scale food production is integrated as a resource and social pivotal point. The main focus is that all initiatives must play into the circular mindset and goals.

“Bakkegårdene is not a solution to neither Denmark’s nor the world’s challenges. Bakkegårdene is a visionary project that can function as inspiration for other bare field-projects and sustainable urban development,” says Bo Christensen, owner of Arkitektfirmaet Bo Christensen.

An asset to the municipality’s relocation
Over the next 10 years, the proportion of urban residents in Denmark will grow from 85% to 95%. The municipalities that have grown the most over the past 20 years are those close to Denmark’s major towns. This development has meant that several municipalities outside the big towns, such as Holstebro, are working extensively to attract new residents and companies.

A central part of Bakkegårdene’s vision is therefore to contribute to Holstebro Municipality’s visions in terms of sustainability, SDGs, business and not least inflow of residents by giving new population groups and companies a new incentive to move towards the area.

“The ambition of the Bakkegårdene is not to attract – and thereby move – citizens and businesses already living in Holstebro, the goal is to a much greater extent to attract new people from all over the country. The vision is to create an attractive district that offers something other than what the town is known for. In this way, the project must contribute to the development of the entire municipality,” says Mette Geertsen.

It is planned that Bakkegårdene will be developed in several stages. The land around the old agricultural college is now owned by the Brunstad Christian Church, which has acquired the entire agricultural college because of the existing building stock. The congregation has therefore asked the project advisors to develop the vision project for the remaining area.

“The plan is that the project with the development of the ‘surplus’ land area will be managed by a future development corporation, but our idea is also that different owners and actors can invest in the area, so we ensure diversity – both in resident composition and architecture, ”concludes Bo Christensen.

Further information
Laura Toftdahl
T: +45 3151 5204
E: laura.toftdahl@sweco.dk