Cities are made up of more than just buildings and people. With half of the world’s population now living in urban areas, it is becoming increasingly important to include green spaces in urban planning if we care about the well-being of our cities and their residents. A new and broader view of parks and public spaces has recently emerged, which highlights benefits related to physical and mental health, community development, tourism, increase in property value, job creation and ecosystem services. Up Gardens focuses not just on adaptive reuse and urban ecology, but on adding value to the local community of Varvsstaden through meaningful and empowering public spaces.

Up Gardens is a demonstration project aimed at showing how the sub-projects in the development plan for Varvsstaden can combine the site’s unique industrial history with the ambition of creating a sustainable district, thus establishing Varvsstaden as a pioneer in sustainable urban development.

The project is based on the experience gained through the Analysis and Benchmarking of Varvsstaden’s previous development plan. The starting point for the project is an approach towards sustainability that combines the triple bottom line with a strong focus on urban resource management. Particular attention was given to five distinct resource categories – water, materials, biodiversity, energy and social capital.


Demonstrations Project

6,000 m²

Malmø, Sweden


Varvsstaden AB


Varvsstaden AB





Partner in charge: Anders Lendager

Project Leader: Stig Ammitzbøll Jørgensen

Team: Signe Balthazar Munk, Ana Habijanec, Aleksandar Tkalec


The park situated in the middle of Varvsstaden will act as the green heart of the area, providing direct access to all other districts. Due to its large size, it is important to prevent the park from becoming a wide-open plain with no strong connection to its surroundings.

Thanks to its central location and the possibility of reusing old structures, the area presents a wide range of opportunities for creating an inviting public space which can attract attention even before the redevelopment of Varvsstaden is complete. The park’s proximity to the harbourfront and the possibility of combining greenery, industrial history and community make for a unique and engaging urban landscape.


Up Gardens is a vertical allotment garden with a regulated indoor climate that offers the possibility of year-round gardening. The building will include spaces for growing and propagation, as well as equipment for collecting rainwater, solar energy and biogas.

The idea behind Up Gardens is to preserve the history of Varvsstaden by reusing existing structures and materials, transforming a derelict production site of the past into a bustling new urban district. We aim to harness the site’s unique features and qualities to drive transformation that is founded in situational meaning and value, thus kickstarting the redevelopment of the new Varvsstaden. By upcycling materials instead of sending them to landfill, we minimize the utilization of the Earth’s dwindling resources and drastically reduce the CO2 footprint of the park.


Up Gardens deals with two different scales within the zoning of Varvsstaden: the building scale and the urban planning scale. On a building scale, the project will demonstrate how it is possible to construct the new districts of Varvsstaden from the former industrial area and how an ambitious material strategy can create unique, sustainable projects made by and for the residents, based on social, environmental and economic sustainability. On an urban planning scale, the project will show how a focus on resource cycling can promote new ways of living and viable urban spaces for the inhabitants of Varvsstaden and Malmö.

Tactical Urbanism

Up Gardens is Varvsstaden’s first pilot project and a prime example of tactical urbanism, making use of the area’s own materials to create a unique building that stands as a shining beacon of the possibilities for local recycling and upcycling of building materials. This open space will be key to the quality of life and identity of Varvsstaden, offering benefits related to human health and well-being, social interaction, biodiversity and urban ecology. The park will be open at all hours of the day, attracting a wide range of users and providing many different functions, from allotment gardening to public events. It will be a catalyst for the development of Varvsstaden and its inhabitants.

Up Gardens presents the whole range from direct reuse of columns from an existing building, to recycling of glass, trusses, etc. and upcycling of, for example, sheet metal which is converted to new building components. The pilot project focuses on biodiversity and the food loop, providing support for the dynamics of urban agriculture within Varvsstaden.

  • Adaptive reuse of industrial buildings

  • Public park

  • Allotment gardens

  • Water as a recreational element