For a city to be full of life, experiences and diversity, we need to build in a more sustainable and resilient way. The path to a green transition is called regenerative design. Through a smarter urban planning process we include nature as optimally as possible in our daily lives. This means creating functioning ecosystems that benefit both people and nature and the interaction between them.

The path to a green transition is called regenerative design

With nature-based solutions, we can develop urban living environments into sustainable, resilient and flexible environments that will last for a long time. The loss of biodiversity, together with climate change, is the greatest threat to humanity. We need to restore and transform the built environment and be responsive to new challenges in everything from projects we design to society as a whole.

Therefore, we have developed 6 proposals for urban environments, here illustrated in Gothenburg’s central river basin, which show how companies and municipalities can cooperate in a green transition.

Regenerative design employs whole-system thinking to create resilient and equitable systems that harmonise the needs of society with the integrity of nature.
Louise Didriksson, Landscape Architetct

Global change through local action

An increasing number of companies, administrations and organisations, regardless of size, want to meet the climate challenges and the goals of the 2030 Agenda. People in the cities of the world demand natural, peaceful and recreational environments.

The key to global change and a more sustainable world is a distinctly localised approach for a green transition. It is our responsibility to rebalance by identifying and implementing new solutions for new construction where we develop in harmony with nature. Become bolder in our actions, more flexible in our thinking and take long-term responsibility for the past, present and future.

Here we have exemplified some of the tools for the green transition in one of Gothenburg’s most central areas – the area around the bridge to Hisingen.


Temperature regulation

Urban environments require more integrated greenery on both existing and new buildings. Green facades and roofs serve to reduce evaporation and thus cooling, while purifying urban air. Façade greenery provides natural solar shading in summer and lets in solar radiation in winter, saving energy and minimising mechanical cooling. Green roofs also reduce energy demand in buildings, and provide cooling on hot summer days.

Recreational habitats and eco-tourism

By restoring and designing new biotopes along industrialised watercourses, we can clean and retain stormwater. With nature-based design, buildings can be integrated into blue-green environments. The process entails additions on the terms of nature. The transition from harbour industry to green spaces creates conditions for a new form of recreation and the possibility for eco-tourism.

Protection against flooding

The establishment of multifunctional reefs creates a new type of blue-green infrastructure that protects land and buildings. Reefs of biotopes in the edge zone between land and water can also be utilised for marine cultivation. The reefs create opportunities to develop marine colony plots for increased local food supply.

Nature restoration

For taking care of the subsurface environment which has a huge capacity to sequester carbon dioxide. By restoring shallow bays with eelgrass that sequesters carbon and shoreline meadows with new habitats that moisturise, hold nutrients in the soil and contribute to carbon sink areas. Nature restoration is a primary transformation for the slow down of climate change.

Remediation of contaminated soil and bottom sediments

Soil remediation is an expensive process. Through bio- or phytoremediation, we use mussels, plants and fungi to clean up former industrial land, cost-effectively using the power of nature. Instead of fossil and chemical resources, bio-based solutions can be established to clean up our urban landscapes.

Locally based food production

Former industrial sites can also be transformed into new areas where we can produce food. Today, urban vegetable gardens exist in more places than ever – from hotel rooftops to community gardens – but in order to increase capacity and Sweden’s self-sufficiency, we need to invest in other methods such as vertical farming. In our marine environments, we can create new businesses that grow seaweed, algae and fish, both on water and on land.

Q&A What is renerative design?

Regenerative design employs whole-system thinking to create resilient and equitable systems that harmonise the needs of society with the integrity of nature. Through regenerative design, we ensure that the built environment has a positive impact on natural systems.

First and foremost, it involves understanding the unique patterns of a place.

Secondly, it focuses on designing for coexistence, which includes establishing self-sustaining local food production, closing energy loops through the creation of net-positive districts, fostering community spirit, strengthening the sense of place, all while respecting planetary boundaries.

Regenerative design aims to ensure that the built environment has a net-positive impact on natural systems. To progress toward regenerative design and systems for our planet, we must understand how to design for all species. The stormwater pond at Exercisfältet in Uppsala is one example where the design enhances natural conditions by contributing to biodiversity, protecting the city from flooding and polluted water, all while providing a welcoming space for people to visit, spend time, and socialise.

– Louise Didriksson, Director of Landscape Development at White Arkitekter


Interested in learning more? Contact us!

Do not hesitate to contact us if you want to know more about how we can support you in your work with climate adaptation and biodiversity.

Louise Didriksson

Louise Didriksson

Landscape architect, Development manager


+46 31 60 87 24

Charlotta Råsmark

Charlotta Råsmark

Landscape architect


+46 31 309 56 80


Related expertise and services

Architecture | Urban designEco-system services | Landscape architecture