In the Oslo suburb Gjersrud Stensrud, the municipality wanted to develop a strong urban life. Compared to cities, suburbs present a greater challenge in terms of creating urban opportunities, since these are planned with a lower level of density. In Gjersrud Stensrud, Kragh&Berlund and COBE found the solution was to combine different housing and landscape qualities into one town with a clear center and an obvious urban hierarchy.
The town’s social structure evolves around a central line running through the low-lying housing area to which the surrounding housing areas higher up are attached. The shared activity spaces in all three housing areas are concentrated around this artery in a clear hierarchy of urban spaces and functions. The areas thus become part of one united urban life signaling a high level of functionality and social diversity.
A FANTASTIC CITY TO LIVE IN
The common backbone is linked to the existing city of Bjørndal in order create a consistent loop through Bjørndal and Gjersrud Stensrud. Central urban functions are linked to each other and preference is given to the soft traffic of pedestrians and cyclists. In this way a dynamic win-win situation is achieved in which both urban areas benefit from existing and future facilities. Gjersud Stensrud may use the established facilities in Bjørndal, such as schools, kindergartens and shopping facilities, and Bjørndal in turn may use the future facilities and urban qualities of Gjersrud Stensrud. The linking of Bjørndal and Gjersrud Stensrud creates a potential for the development of an integrated and dynamic urban life for the entire area.