From vision to reality – integrating energy goals in the development of a new urban district in Sweden
Paper i proceeding, 2024

Urban areas play an important role in attaining the sustainability and energy goals set by municipalities. Despite the often ambitious sustainability visions and goals for new urban areas, there is limited understanding of how these aspirations are integrated into the planning and development process. This paper aims to provide insights into how energy-related visions and goals, in a new district in Sweden, are formulated and further translated into instruments employed by the municipality. Brunnshög, a new sustainability-profiled district in Lund envisioned to become a leading example of sustainable urban development, is used as a case study. The district’s long-term energy goal is to generate more energy than what is used, emphasizing a strong focus on energy efficiency and local renewable energy generation. Key to Brunnshög’s energy strategy is the implementation of the world’s largest low-temperature district heating network supplied with excess heat from two high-tech research facilities. The planning process for Brunnshög began in 2006 and the district is expected to be completed in 2055, accommodating an estimated 40,000 residents and workers.

Adopting a municipal planning perspective, this paper combines analysis of planning documents with interviews conducted with developers and the municipality’s project manager for Brunnshög. The results provide an overview of how the energy-related visions and goals for Brunnshög have been included in the planning documents for the district and describe the utilization of three instruments used by the municipality to achieve these visions and goals: (1) collaboration contract with the local energy company, (2) land allocation competitions, and (3) sustainability agreements with the developers.

The formulation of visions and goals for Brunnshög, divided into long-term visionary goals and more immediate operational goals, allows for adjustments of specific aspects based on changing circumstances while still maintaining a commitment to broader visions and goals. The translation of energy goals into commitments is an evolving process, with the level of ambition influenced by factors such as the demand for housing and office space, competition among developers, and prevailing sustainability trends. This paper concludes that the integration of sustainability criteria into land allocation competitions is a powerful instrument for driving ambitious building projects. However, in contexts where the municipality lacks ownership of the land or faces subdued market conditions, there is a need for additional tools to be developed. Furthermore, sustainability agreements with developers serve as an important tool to track the sustainability commitments made in land allocation competitions. However, implementing a more systematic review and evaluation of these agreements, including long-term assessments, is necessary to learn from the experiences and hold the actors accountable. The findings of this study contribute to a better understanding of how energy goals can be sustained throughout lengthy urban development processes. Insights gained from development processes such as Brunnshög are essential for implementing the necessary changes to decrease the climate impact of new urban development projects and to mainstream the practices of sustainable urban development.

New urban district

Energy goals

Planning instruments

Goal translation


Alexandra Calvén

Lunds universitet

Janneke van der Leer

Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Byggnadsdesign

Kerstin Sernhed

Lunds universitet

Wiktoria Glad

Linköpings universitet

Eceee Summer Study Proceedings

16537025 (ISSN) 20017960 (eISSN)

627-636 5-152-24
978-91-988270-3-3 (ISBN)

European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy Summer Study 2024
, France,

Socioteknisk ekologi: Energisystem i urbana områden med hög hållbarhetsprofil

Energimyndigheten (50345-1), 2020-07-01 -- 2024-06-30.


Hållbar utveckling







Mer information