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En route to a sustainable university district

Time-saving cycle superhighway, chargeable cargo bikes and an out of the ordinary bus stop sluice that attaches to the bus. In the next few years, a great deal of climate smart actions will take place on campus — and this autumn, you can participate by sharing your best ideas.

EVERY DAY, 40,000 people commute to Campus Umeå out of a 123,000 population. Only 3,000 stay over night within the area. Particularly at night, the area feels empty, dark, and sometimes scary. However, since 2013 some great plans are developing to make the so-called University District into a more attractive part of Umeå. Many stakeholders invest annually over a billion Swedish krona in buildings, accommodation, infrastructure and sustainable energy consumption. Albeit, the decisive point came at the end of 2016 when Umeå was granted EU funding for the project Ruggedised — a so-called Smart City project which focuses on the University District.

“Within 10—15 years, Campus Umeå will become a place bustling with life around the clock with restaurants open in the evenings and good service offerings,” says Carina Aschan, strategic developer at Umeå municipality and project manager for Ruggedised.

“Many of those who strive for a sustainable life will be attracted by new kinds of accommodation that render cars unnecessary. Apartment ent can for instance include room in a stairwell fridge to which food can be delivered straight from the supermarket, and have bulky rubbish collected from houses and apartment blocks instead of driving it to a remote waste and recycling centre.”
 
SOME IMPORTANT KEYSTONES in the climate venture will be more or less invisible above ground, such as a geothermal storage for heating and cooling, and a sensor system registering how people move to optimally distribute energy between buildings. A new web platform for open data will also be set up to collect data on energy consumption, air quality, carbon dioxide emissions, travel data, and crime and accident reports across Umeå.

What will be more noticeable are the new transport routes on and through campus.
On a regular working day in 2019, you can shorten your commute to work by minutes thanks to a new, wide cycle superhighway that will go through the area. If you wish, you can also borrow an electric cargo bike to do your weekly shopping. The bikes, charged by solar cells and special batteries, will first of all be available at three stations — on Campus Umeå, in the city centre and at the retail shopping centre Avion.

“A bike pooling building is likely to be positioned by the Biology Building, but the idea is for the biking network to expand in time,” says Carina Aschan, and adds that plans exist for a showroom and a foodcourt in the same area.”
 
FOR ELECTRIC CARS, there will be two large clusters of charging stations — one by the Social Sciences Building and one by the Biology Building. If you instead choose to travel by bus, you will get a remarkable experience at the Universum bus stop, the single most popular stop to embark on in Umeå. And payments are made already at the bus stop. When the electric bus halts, the bus sluice attaches to the bus like a jet- way to an airplane. This reduces heat loss, and the bus can run longer on one charge.

“The idea is also to increase the status of traveling by bus, and to give passengers an experience while waiting. Although, the challenge of designing a bus stop that feels both safe and attractive remains. There will prob- ably also be a need for bike parking in the vicinity. Having a good dialogue with members of staff and students is hence incredibly important,” Carina Aschan points out.

In autumn and winter 2017–18, a number of separate workshops will be held. Something else planned are the Venture cafés — meeting places where public actors, entrepreneurs and citizens can meet and develop new solutions and initiate new companies.

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