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Designing Cycles at 64° - Interior Urban Landscapes and the Water-Energy-Food Nexus / case study Umeå

Research project Designing Cycles at 64° investigates how the built environment in colder climates and residents interactions with it could be reconfigured to support extended local food production and various cycle solutions.

In our cold climate of latitude 64 °, we have a very short growing season, which means that we are dependent on imports of food from warmer latitudes for large parts of the year. By exploring extensions of greenhouses, combined with various cycle solutions, this project aims to change the role of residents and buildings from being consumers to becoming producers. The research is diverse and focuses on buildings, districts and Umeå as a case study for cities in the north. The 2-year project is finansed by Vinnova.

Head of project

Project overview

Project period:

2021-11-01 2023-10-31

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Umeå School of Architecture

Research area


External funding


Project description

Adding Greenhouses and Solutions for Ecological Cycles to Existing Buildings can Increase Food Production in Cities With Cold Climate

At a latitude of 64 ° N, extensions to greenhouses and building facades can increase local food production by extending the growing seasons, reducing water and energy consumption while creating spaces between inside and outside. By exploring passive architectural solutions, this project aims to change the role of residents and buildings from being consumers to becoming producers while buffering existing infrastructure networks. 
Building on Bengt Warne´s Naturhus (1974), an inventory of existing built and projected case studies will set parameters to explore potential building sites in Umeå with the aim to expand building performance to then design a site-specific prototype. Productive interfaces between the private and public sector, academia involving architecture, urban planning, water management, plant physiology and vertical gardening, as well as the general public create a knowledge network in a living lab format to further define implementation, maintenance and user models. 
This two-year project is preparatory to outline the possibilities for a prototype implementation in Umeå. Rebuilding the existing building stock, transforming empty buildings, and expanding our building performance can accumulatively have an impact on ecosystem level. In response to climate change, the overarching goal is to increase local food production within the urban context of this specific climate zone and to create productive partnerships outside our own discipline. 

External funding

Latest update: 2022-03-29