“This means that SLU plays an important role to develop the initiative and collaborate with other organisations in Sweden to spread the values of the New European Bauhaus,” says Dimitris Athanassiadis, SLU Urban Futures’ regional hub coordinator in Umeå.
He has been involved in SLU’s work to become an official partner in the New European Bauhaus and has been introducing the initiative to researchers working within the area at SLU.
Beautiful, sustainable and inclusive living spaces
The New European Bauhaus (NEB) initiative, was launched by the European Commission in 2020 and expresses the ambition of the European Union to create living spaces that are beautiful, sustainable, and inclusive in alignment with the European Green deal.
The sustainability aspects ranges from climate goals to circularity, zero pollution, and biodiversity, while the aesthetics deals with aspects such as quality of experience and style beyond functionality and finally inclusion, from valuing diversity to securing accessibility and affordability.
New focus for the work with Urban Forestscapes
New European Bauhaus is an initiative that the platform SLU Urban Futures, together with the faculty of Forest Sciences, will engage with to explore different angles upon it.
The platform’s work on sustainable urban development with particular focus on Urban Forestscapes, Urban Healthscapes and Urban Foodscapes can contribute with an understanding of the complexity of a landscape perspective in relation to spatial development, inclusiveness, aesthetics and other values concerning food, forest and health.
“The theme Urban Forestscapes is very much related to new European Bauhaus, because it refers to the way forest ecosystems and urban development are interconnected by diverse social, economic, cultural and environmental processes in different contexts. Studying Urban Forestscapes allows perspectives on urban forests to be lifted in sustainable urban development issues,” says Dimitris Athanassiadis.
Increase skills on sustainable forestry and wood construction
The New European Bauhaus Academy, is an action within the New European Bauhaus initiative, that aims to increase skills on sustainable forestry and wood construction. In Sweden it is led by the research institute RISE on behalf of the National Board of Housing, Building and Planning (Boverket) in collaboration with Swedish actors, such as SLU. The target for SLU is to point out work within SLU that can serve as good examples within the New European Bauhaus. The academy will collect education material within sustainable forestry and wood construction in particular. The work in Sweden in the New European Bauhaus (NEB) Academy will continue from 2023 to 2025
The construction sector is responsible for more than 35 percent of the EU’s total waste generation, according to official data from the European Commission. Greenhouse gas emissions from material extraction, manufacturing of construction products, construction and renovation of buildings are estimated at 5-12 percent of the total national greenhouse gas emissions. As much as 80 percent of those emissions could be saved by greater material efficiency, according to the European Commission.
“Using more wood in the construction of multi-storey buildings would reduce the emissions, says Dimitris Athanassiadis. A challenge is that tradition and building techniques using concrete and steel are very well established while building in wood has not been practised to the same extent for many years,” he reflects.
“The aim is to contribute to, shape and increase the skills used in the construction sector concerning bio-based materials provided by the forest, circularity and sustainable construction, while at the same time guarding biodiversity and other ecosystem services provided by the forests,” says Dimitris Athanassiadis.