The Tolerant City grows in the H+ area through a flexible and instructive planning process. The point of departure is Helsingborgs unique characteristics, the landscape, the water, history and the current well-run functions.

The vision of an urban development with proximity to water, sustainability in both the social and the physical sense of the word, meeting places and diversity have been staple requirements in H+. The structure plan aims at scenarios of how The Tolerant City might be able to grow, fully formed and yet constantly pointing towards its own continuation – up-dating and transforming. 

In order to lead water back into the area, a fusion of a blue and a green finger is fashioned and a soft thoroughfare is established centrally in the area turning a vast industrial surface into a green recreational backbone. From the north, seawater is drawn into the area through a city canal. From the south, the Gåsebäck Stream is extended into a brook through a green park zone. The two types of water meet in a house celebrating the water in a new central city square encircled by an historic military campus.

The water, which is the basis of all life and so characteristic of Helsingborg thus makes up a central vein in the area. A placatory vein, where fresh and salt water meet, mix and generate circulation. From the quays of the harbour, to sharply defined canal banks and islands, bridges and terraces to softly overgrown edges along the brook, this stretch Transforms an existing back into a unique blue and green stage in the centre of the new development. Introducing the new blue-green corridor, all areas of H+ will have a very close relation to both water and nature. The corridor will continue urban qualities of piers and canals and also natural qualities of lakes, meadows and forests.

The structural plan is a framework with exact objectives and guidelines that may be developed and gain a tangible form in a number of ways. This simultaneity of firmness and flexibility is developed strategically in relation to a series of factors that collectively turn the project into a robust planning tool. A dynamic and adaptable planning process is to a large extent “sustainability”. Not only the physical organization of the area, but also its ambience, it’s cultural and functional content, have been dealt with in order to create a Tolerant City.

The different districts open themselves up to a great diversity of people, while they interweave with the rest of Helsingborg. Urban plazas and recreational areas facilitate coexistence, regardless of age, ethnicity and gender to inspire and challenge individual perspectives and lifestyles. Architectural diversity and exuberance create excitement and tension in scale and expression. Nothing is generated from nothing in The Tolerant City; visibility creates awareness of the city’s cycles and processes. The city is used and created simultaneously; it is never consumed or expended.

The Canal City is a neighbourhood where an urban vibe is mixed with the ever present water. Organized around blue plazas and squares, the plan deals with the water as a physically structuring element that provides an airy and comfortable identity.

The University area is an extension of the existing Söder neighbourhood. Its characteristic grid structure is extended as a natural way of binding the two areas together. An existing broad and heavily trafficked road is transformed into a blue and green canal offering a calm public space that is among the urban elements defining the area.

The Husar neighbourhood is an old barracks area. Its campus-like structure is enhanced as an important urban quality and its central space defined as the crossing point for the entire H+ master plan - a pivot where green meet blue.

Historically the Gaasebaeck area has a small scale - its building mass consisting of mainly small businesses, workshops and the like. Its dominating green character is the starting point that brings the landscape into the H+ development. The development of the area takes its green qualities into careful consideration through a sporadic exploration that makes space for a green infiltration of the plan.

Name: H+
Type: Invited international competition 1st prize
Program: Urbanism
Client: Helsingborg Municipality
Size: 100 ha
Location: Helsingborg SE
Year: 2009-2013
Collaborators: Schønherr, Transsolar, Viatrafik, GPA, BBN Consult, FB Engineering, Jens Kvorning
Image credits: ADEPT, Schønherr
Team: Martin Laursen, Martin Krogh, Anders Lonka, Simon Poulsen, Jens Peter Nielsen, Morten Dam Feddersen, Eduardo Teixeira Alves, Nelly Jana, Mari Carmen Garcia, David Clark