Kalundborg becomes an Irresistible Circular Society

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How do we take the green transition to the next level in transforming existing neighborhoods and creating new ones?

The answer is DESIRE. A New European Bauhaus project that makes nature and vulnerable groups stakeholders in innovative design processes for sustainable urban areas. The aim is to start an architectural movement based on cohesion and equality.


Eight Demonstration Projects

DESIRE is one of six lighthouses in the European Commission’s new Joint European identity formation initiative New European Bauhaus, which aims to involve citizens in the green transition locally and in respect of the original history and nature of the location.

DESIRE is based on eight demonstration projects in five countries where 24 partners represent DESIRE’s three social themes: inclusive housing, symbiotic communities, and connecting the city with nature.

Three projects take place in Denmark: Herlev, Høje Taastrup and Kalundborg, respectively.

Knowledge Hub Zealand manages the Kalundborg project.


Symbiotic community: Kalundborg Circular Campus

The project is working on the establishment of a campus for a new architectural education in Kalundborg. Five locations are in the pipeline and, where possible, DESIRE will test the sites by setting up temporary classes in empty rooms and allowing students to work here as part of their education. In the process, they will examine which solutions are most sustainable based on parameters such as study environment, urban development, economy, resources, accessibility and energy consumption.

Together with The Royal Danish Academy, Knowledge Hub Zealand hopes to contribute with knowledge on how and why it pays off to allow time for research and experimentation with different stakeholders before major decisions are made.

DESIRE has added a processing time in which it is permitted to make errors, while at the same time there are resources to experiment with new forms of collaboration and untested possibilities. There is room to go beyond what you would 'normally' do.


DESIRE: Designing the Irresistible Circular Society

We’re probably all familiar with the expression “getting dirt under your nails” when used metaphorically. But what if we were to take this literally and apply the principle in our daily lives? Would it, for example, change our perception of life, so we start to see ourselves as part of something bigger and connected to the challenges we face every day, including climate change, loss of biodiversity and a consumption of resources that puts pressure on the capacity of our planet? Would we be able to achieve a sense that we, as individuals, hold a little of both the past and future in our own hands, and could make a real difference through the choices we make?

Dirt under your nails is both a metaphorical and physical part of an innovative and inclusive design process in the EU project DESIRE – Designing the Irresistible Circular Society. Here is where our 24 partners from six European countries are experimenting with new ways to work with a holistic approach to urban development as we shape sustainable new urban areas and transform existing ones. We develop principles that connect the city with nature, create green transition through symbiotic communities, and include users in the process of transformation.

For although the world has started to implement the green transition, we have to admit that it’s moving too slowly. The planet, nature and future generations need us to do more today – and in a different way. That’s what we’re doing in DESIRE.

We incorporate art, architecture and design into the green transition, and connect nature with people as we create circular solutions based on cohesion and equality.

Cities and nature are not each other's opposites, as cities include nature, which also needs a space. DESIRE is about creating a change in our perceptions so we become aware of how biodiversity contributes positively to making cities more sustainable and beautiful. When we see ourselves as people who have a place in the city and are aligned with nature - not above or below it - we give nature a voice, which makes it a stakeholder; we listen, and this allows us to make more holistic decisions relating to the green transition.

Aase Højlund Nielsen, BLOXHUB, DESIRE Project Manager, and MSc in Systems Thinking


DESIRE specifically contributes to the EU’s mission of ‘Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities’. The partners will share the experience gained from DESIRE via an electronic learning platform so that others can draw inspiration from it. Learn more on https://www.irresistiblecircularsociety.eu/

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