Amazing Malmö Puts Us All To Shame

malmo sustainable design trudeau foundation cities photo before and after

All over North America, people complain about deteriorating cities, dysfunctional governments, decline of industrial base and loss of jobs. That pretty much describes Malmö twenty-five years ago, when the shipping industry collapsed and there was 25% unemployment.

In North America, we just let cities fend for themselves and rot; in Malmö, Sweden, they reinvented the City and built a template for the future.

malmo sustainable design trudeau foundation cities photo mayor speaker

Mayor Ilmar Reepalu spoke at the Trudeau Foundation Conference on Cities and described some of the things they do in Malmo, a mind-boggling list. On the site of the old shipyards, they have decontaminated the soil and built housing that is solar and wind powered, gets its heat from a district heating plant that produces biogas, and pumps hot water from solar collectors into the ground to store heat for winter. The project is powered 100% by renewable energy.

malmo sustainable design trudeau foundation cities photo bikes

It has 410 kilometers of bike paths, even more than Copenhagen. 40% of all commuting is done by bike.


Sege Park as 166kW of solar power from a 1250 square meter array.

malmo sustainable design trudeau foundation cities photo green roof

What else?

  • Low-energy schools and houses that are so well insulated that body heat keeps them warm.
  • 96% recycling rate; what cannot be reused is burned in a waste-to-energy facility for district heating.
  • Buses run on biogas.
  • Vacuum garbage removal system.
  • Green Roofs.
  • Open storm water management.
  • Organic gardening in the middle of the city.
  • Sensors on traffic lights detect bicycles and adjust for them.
  • It is a "fair trade" city
  • The schools serve organic food.
malmo sustainable design trudeau foundation cities photo mayor

Ilmar Reepalu is a talented guy, but there is a lot more going on her than one man can be responsible for. What makes Sweden so different, that they can reinvent their industrial cities, build properly, deal with their waste and use renewable energy?

Why does Malmö have the political will, money and smarts to do this kind of thing when we can't?

More from the Trudeau Foundation Conference:

Witold Rybczynski On The Four Paradigms of American Cities
Are Cities Green, Or Are We Just Pigs in a Factory Farm?

More on Malmo

Futuristic Apartment Tower Lit By Motion-Sensing LEDs
NOx-Sucking Sidewalks Could Save Lives (or at Least, Lungs)
Vertical Wind Turbines May Get A Chance On Malmö City Rooftops

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