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PRIZE MONEY: 1st prize: 12 000 EUR, 2nd prize: 6 000 EUR

TEAM REPRESENTATIVE: urbanist, landscape
architect or architect

SITE TOPIC: Recovery, intensifying districts

LOCATION: The Wooden Town, Levanger

POPULATION: 10 000 inhabitants

STUDY SITE: 400 ha


SITE PROPOSED BY: Levanger municipality

ACTORS INVOLVED: Levanger municipality,
Department of Cultural Heritage, Trøndelag County Council.

OWNERS OF THE SITE: Levanger municipality and private landowners.

Urban development strategy for downtown
Levanger and/or preliminary study for the new library building. Commission value 500 000 NOK.

The historical city as an engine for the future

See all the compeition entries here

Virtual tour here

Download the competition brief here

Download the synthetic file here

When the entire town centre of Levanger gained protection as a listed cultural heritage site because of its unique wooden architecture and city plan, it was not supposed to curb development. Yet the exodus of retailers and activity from the town centre continues, and the main street is clogged with intense through traffic. The town now puts its faith in Europan. Can the solution for Levanger be found amongst the ideals of the past? The town wishes to use Europan 16 to explore whether the listing can create opportunities for a social, architectural and cultural acceleration into the future.

The original town plan from 1846 was founded on ideals such as equitable access to daylight, air and green spaces. Since then, these values have gradually been lost in a car-based shift which has displaced our perception of these timeless qualities. The town centre is now devoid of both people and services, while access to its natural surroundings remains poor.

To reach the goal of creating a climate-friendly, inclusive and vibrant town, there is a sense of urgency in finding strategies to turn the tide. Levanger municipality asks for a strategy with interventions in the town’s park axis and explorations on the tolerances of the listed environment through solutions for a new library.

Through participation in Europan 16, Levanger municipality is looking to determine how the town’s cultural heritage and unique historical setting can serve as an engine and resource for the future town of Levanger. The aim is to take consistent and strategic measures to preserve the town centre’s historical identity while staking out a path forward to create a sustainable and attractive town centre also in the future.

The municipality of Levanger is located by the Trondheimsfjord in the central Trøndelag region, 80 km from the city of Trondheim and 50 km from Trondheim Airport. The municipality is home to 20,185 people. Around half of them live in or close to the listed timber-built town of Levanger.

After a great fire in 1846 Levanger got its first and only town plan which took its ideals from European townscapes in the 1800s with their straight thoroughfares, enclosed blocks and prominent, angled corners. The perpendicular park axis, the allmenning (the commons) between the wharves and Sjøgata were key elements. After the last great fire in 1897 the town was rebuilt partly with richly ornamented timber houses. Levanger was originally a meeting place for trade and culture, but after 60 years of car-based development, Levanger bears the marks of the gradual flight of both people and services from the town centre. The current situation is causing problems for the local climate and preventing equitable access to services.

High levels of dust, noise and air pollution along with reduced service provision have made it less attractive to live and trade in the protected historical timber-built town. Because of low population densities, Levanger municipality struggles to provide an affordable and effective public transport system causing poor access to services for those less well off and without a car. These social inequalities affect public health and quality of life. The environmental and social challenges are two sides to the same coin: finding a good solution to the traffic problem and ensuring good access to services in the town centre are key elements in creating a town that is more inclusive, diverse and sustainable.

The park axis in central Levanger is at the heart of its grey and green infrastructure. The competition site with the park axis and adjoining blocks allow the participants to explore infill, transformations and newbuilds as well as urban programming and street design. The local authority has decided to investigate the scope for a new library in Levanger, and how it would sit with the urban development strategy is part of the brief