MARELD: Shoreline Park is a prototype-park project in a former harbor in the heart of Gothenburg, Sweden. MARELD + atelier le balto were commissioned to design and develop Shoreline Park as a prelude to the Jubilee Park, a new central park that celebrates the city’s 400th anniversary in 2021 and precedes a new city district to be built around it. The landowner, together with the municipality, has ambitious sustainability goals for all new development and Shoreline Park is a test-site for them.
The site has a rich history: it is a marsh landfill turned into a harbor in mid-20th century. Existing ruderal vegetation is scarce and needs to be handled carefully. The soils are contaminated, and the sun, wind and rain mercilessly beat down on the open landscape. These conditions make Shoreline Park a fascinating area, a 1:1 scale landscape laboratory, where ideas on aesthetics, materials, vegetation, and maintenance are tested together with the municipal staff and the public. Perhaps even more importantly, the project brings the authors very close to the environment they envision because they have created Shoreline Park not only as landscape architects, but as actively engaged gardeners collaborating with more than 100 participants during several public workshops. This invites people to leave their imprint on the park both directly through building and planting, but even more importantly indirectly by voicing their interests and desires so these can then be incorporated into the final design of the permanent park. Such planning-and-building method leaves freedom for natural processes to occur and allows a resilient urban greenspace to start developing already before the new city district is built.
No design can be truly resilient if aesthetics, ecology, education, and maintenance all will not find its equal place in a park landscape. Shoreline Park project is tackling these issues on its 6000 sqm and is an experimental flagship taking the resilience discussion onwards. Differing from business-as-usual design, at Shoreline Park analysis of ecosystem services, engaging the public on a building site and increasing the designers’ involvement in the construction and maintenance phases is in focus. We believe that to achieve resilience in a rapidly changing World, landscape architects need to be involved in all phases throughout the lifespan of a park. Urban ecosystems, wild aesthetics and unfamiliar plant compositions need to be explained and discussed with different municipal departments and later with the users.
This park introduces new aesthetics and work methods and opens the next chapter in the discussion on resilient urban greenspaces. It first shed light on the dichotomy between maintenance staff and designers, but then welcomed both parties to a dialogue on how a park could be managed and what role a landscape architect could have after the design proposal has been handed over to the client. We wish that the process is lifted and made part of the creation of a habitable environment, for the new city district as well as for all of Gothenburg. On top of place-building, here landscape architects are responsible and actively involved in place-keeping.
Although parts of Shoreline Park need to be cleaned from contaminants in the coming decades, some areas will be woven into the permanent and larger Jubilee Park. As for Shoreline Park, we literally joined forces with other actors to create, take care and to act for resiliency, beauty, and survival. We hope that this new way of relating to urban greenspaces will continue to progress here at the Jubilee Park over the next 20 years and more.
Authors: MARELD, atelier le balto
Name of the project: Shoreline Park
Project category: Prototype-park
Role of the Office in the project: Landscape architect, organizer of workshops, gardener, builder
Project location: the Jubilee Park (Jubileumsparken) in Frihamnen, Göteborg, Sweden
Size: ca 6000 sqm
Design year: 2016-2017
Year Built: 2017-2018