New Hjelmeland Feasibility study for sustainable growth
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Smaller municipalities in Norway have often undefined central districts, and struggle with vitality in outdoor areas. Inhabitant decrease, especially amongst the younger generation is rather normal. Singular monofunctional buildings become the target point, and the transport system is car based. The public space consists of large areas of parking, which are not convenient as meeting places.
Mad in Stavanger has conducted a feasibility study for Hjelmelandsvågen with the aim of showing a long-term development and densification potential with an attractive and vibrant centre. The feasibility study will be included in the revision of the zoning plan for Hjelmeland municipality.
The feasibility study defines a new area for the development of a future centre in Vågen at the cultural environment by the Old Town, Town Hall, Spinneriet and Hjelmeland Church, creating a cultural identity. The new city centre in Vågen also offers potential car-free zones, both towards the fjord and within the existing structure. This provides a higher quality inclusive space for recreation and socializing.
Today, Hjelmelandsvågen consists of 3 core areas; the new city centre, the spa hotel and the ferry port. Every area has an important function in further development, and each has their role. Therefore, it is particularly important to create good connections between each of them. The focus areas of Mad’s study are the new centre “Vågen”, and the area by the spa hotel in a long-term perspective, and also the design and programming of the seafront and the village road, Eplealléen.
The new centre
The centre extends from the Old Town to the north, the Spar shop on the other side of the river to the south, the fjord to the west and Spinneriet and Hjelmeland church in the east. The densification is mainly planned around the Town Hall, with a highly functional diversity, as well as sheltered and sunny outside spaces, without traffic, which invites you to use the area and socialize.
An additional access is planned via a marina for smaller boats, and new buildings are planned along the pier. The access road to residential areas is transferred to the north via a new bridge which will ensure access for a bus. The densification along Eplealléen is based on continuing and amplifying the existing environment. New buildings will be oriented towards the sidewalk and will contribute to a better street environment. Existing surface parking is integrated into future buildings.
Spa Hotel and Fjord Park
Hjelmeland is picturesque due to the fjord and mountains and attracts many tourists. Besides the 1700 cabins at Hjelmeland for the frequent tourists, the spa hotel and hostel Nøklingen also has an important role as a guest accommodation. In order for Hjelmeland to be an attractive tourist destination for various tourists, different accommodation concepts are proposed in form of boat houses, cabins, mountain huts, camping, as well as hotel rooms and apartments. In addition, Mad suggests an expanded offer of outdoor activities for spa, water sports, boating and recreation for both locals and visitors.
Seafront and Eplealléen
The seafront and Eplealléen are important links in Hjelmelandsvågen. The seafront is a recreational trail that can bind together Sandestranden, ferry terminal, Fjord Park and all the routes to Vågen. Eplealléen is the only access road both for external and internal traffic.
To create a more attractive street environment for pedestrians and cyclists, it is proposed to increase the width of the sidewalks, increased number of buildings and functions in connection to the sidewalk, and plant more apple trees in the gardens of the family houses.
In the assignment, Mad has planned for a long-term increase of the number of inhabitants from 2709 to 4000. The project is based on extensive analyses and shows a concept for how this development can be accomplished. With a higher concentration of centre functions with trade, conversion, culture, recreation, industry and new housing in Vågen, there can be a sustainable neighbourhood with valuable living spaces.
New industries and trade can build on existing and historical industries and thus also strengthen Hjelmeland’s identity. In addition, proposals for functions are based on a previously completed survey of the needs of the local population. With an increased offer, the draw to settle at Hjelmeland, will also increase. Hjelmeland currently has the Fruit and Salmon Festival during autumn. Mad has also suggested place-type activities for spring, summer and winter, which both locals, tourists and nearby cities can enjoy.
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