Sunrise: 7:18AM Sunset: 4:25PM This post is a touch longer than most of my others, but have no fear! It’s mostly pictures…

I am really enjoying being in my rural little satellite town, and while I will not enjoy biking in very frigid or rainy weather, for the time being the 40 minute bike rides to Malmö and Lund have been a wonderful way to appreciate the cycling infrastructure and agricultural landscapes of the Skåne region. Even the suburban development in Sweden has some wonderful planning and landscape features, such as integrated multi-use trails and beautiful stormwater swales every which way you turn!

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SWALES!

I also found the design of this apartment building to be interesting, the stepped nature of the balconies and the green roofs somewhat like Bjarke Ingels’ project The Mountain in nearby Copenhagen. This configuration is of course, less dramatic, but affords the residents much more privacy.

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On my bike ride to Lund I meandered through some city parks and found an incredible play space, and a beautiful garden that were very inspiring. I do not yet know who designed these spaces, but if you have any ideas — please leave a comment and let me know!

Just south of the Klostergården Student Housing developments was a small playground called Aktivia that was being enjoyed with reckless abandon by a handful of kids. According to Lund City’s description of Aktivia, this park opened very recently (September 18, 2016), and was conceived along with the help of girls in the Klostergården community, and other local youth, to be a gender-inclusive space!

I tried to take photos without the children in them, but I can assure you, they were enjoying this space and transitioned between all of the different spaces and activities very rapidly. The plan sketches below attempt to show the elements in relation to one another, there was a more open western portion with an accessible stage, a basketball hoop, a bounce surface, some play bars, and a few tables with umbrellas and benches for seating. The eastern portion was shaded by large trees and had a more ‘hidden’ or ‘secret’ feeling, which would be very engaging for childrens’ imaginations. This space had several blocks for seating or climbing, more hammocks, and a tire swing.

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Western portion of the playground
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Eastern ‘grove’ part of the playground

The whole design was vibrantly colored and there were several poles from which banners or garlands could be hung on special occasions. A sign at the entrance to the space also proclaims that this is meant to be an inclusive and welcoming space.

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The colorful blue strip leads occupants through the space, and an accessible stage stands at one end (kids love being on stage!)
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The green dot contains a bouncy surface, and colorful poles hold garlands

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A ping-pong table and seating in the northeast corner

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The eastern part of the playground is more heavily shaded and feels like its own space. The trees around the play area have more poles for flags or garlands, as well as hammocks!

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Poles used to display handmade flags

When I got closer to the center of Lund, I meandered through the very classical City Park, and to the east of the swimming center, found another recently redeveloped garden that really blew me away. The planting is palette DIVINE and inventive, and after sketching the space in plan, I realized that while the rhythm of the paths and plantings at first appears very traditional, a shift of alignments of a central path creates an asymmetry. The asymmetry, along with the plant selection and smooth grey-blue stone makes the garden feel contemporary, but not out of place in this classically-designed city park. I want to know who this designer is!

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Plan sketch of the garden within Lund Stadsparken; notice the shift in alignments of the paths running left to right… Brilliant!

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The shifted axes are visible here, this space would feel so very different if the paths were aligned
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Restrained and beautiful seating and tree arrangement that is repeated throughout the design
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The centerpiece of the garden is this beautiful old fountain, the benches around it were full of people spacing out to the sound of the water

The photos below attempt to focus on the incredible plant arrangements, I was so overwhelmed by how inventive and strategic the designer was with texture, height, and color.

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I spent a while taking in this gorgeous garden, and then putzed around downtown Lund for a while. The medieval quarter of this city is the most adorable, quaint, lovely place! If it was an eight-year-old, I would pinch its cheeks, but I have to settle for gushing about it on a blog.

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The cutest parklet you ever did see…

The Lund Cathedral is yet another beautiful example of the restrained and elegant way in which Sweden designs with authenticity. The use of materials and geometry is straightforward and honest. The cathedral is not devoid of ornament, but the ornament that exists serves to gracefully highlight the structure and materials.

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Lund Cathedral

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The precise geometry of Swedish design

 

 

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