Jia Shao , pp. 43. DSN/School of Planning and Media Design, 2011.
Charles Dickens, “There were a hundred thousand shapes and substances of incompleteness, wildly mingled out of their places, upside down, burrowing in the earth, aspiring in the earth, moldering in the water, and unintelligible as in any dream”. It is thought to be the “best one-sentence description of Edge City extant” by Joel Garreau.
The term “edge cities” was first created by Washington Post journalist and author Joel Garreau in the book Edge City: Life on the New Frontier in 1991. These growing edge cities mainly distribute around major suburban freeways as the latest transformation of how we live and work. The “new suburban cities have sprung up like dandelions across the fruited plain, they're home to glistening office towers, huge retail complexes, and are always located close to major highways”. According to Garreau, there are five rules for a place to be considered as an edge city. Firstly, the area must have more than five million square feet of office space (about the space of a good-sized downtown). Secondly, the place must include over 600,000 square feet of retail space (the size of a large regional shopping mall). Thirdly, the population must rise every morning and drop every afternoon (i.e., there are more jobs than homes). Fourthly, the place is known as a single end destination (the place "has it all", entertainment, shopping, recreation, etc.). Finally, the area must not have been anything like a "city" 30 years ago (cow pastures would have been nice). Hyllie is a new sustainable urban area in southern Malmo. According to the further plan, there will be around 8,000 attractive homes totally with parks and good schools. And there is scope for almost as many jobs. At the same time, office blocks, international exhibition centre, hotels and shopping centre will also be built. People from both southern Sweden and eastern Demark will work, live, entertain and shop here. Overall, Hyllie looks like an edge city described by Joel Garreau although it does not strictly confirm to every rules above. With its expansion, this impression will be underlined.
Just like the analysis from Garreau, the rise of Edge City is one of results of suburbanization. People move their houses out past the traditional idea of what constituted a city. This transformation eases the central urban pressure and the gap between urban and rural areas to some extent. But there are also some questions need to be considered. First, what the relationship should be created between traditional urban areas and new suburban cities? And how they connect with each other? Next, these edge cities are mainly close to major highways and freeways which divide the cities into various districts with different size. How do they break the physical barriers and complete the regional integration, but not to be separated from each other as islands?
In this paper, I will take Hyllie linking with two typical Million Programme districts Kroksbäck and Holma as an example to discuss these questions. Now in this suburban area, there are all kinds of barriers from previous planning, infrastructure investment, and urban development which lead to the segregation and fragmentation in regional development. Specifically, the inner ring road Annetorpsvägen with the design of sunken road and six-lanes shapes a large physical barrier between Hyllie and Kroksbäck-Holma. The underused Kroksbäck Park is another barrier blocking the connection between Kroksbäck and Holma. And in the north, west, and east direction of these two residential areas, three major roads not only lead to Kroksbäck-Holma to be an island but also cut off the connection between Hyllie and Malmo centre. In this project, I will pay more attention to discuss and explain how to break physical barriers in the rise process of suburban area. For example, creating green structure and expanding the green effect are my approaches to resolve the problem of landscape fragments which is discussed by Garreau. In the book Edge City: Life on the New Frontier, Garreau also gives some methods and solutions. They will be thought in touch with the practical situation in Sweden through comparative methods with other theories. For instance, Garreau thinks that 150m is the longest distance of walking. To some extent, it is not possible to apply in Sweden. Jan Gehl believes that 5 minutes walk with about 300m is the limit. He also suggests that designers can distract pedestrians’ attention through enriching “experience routes”.
In addition, some social barriers like ethnic background, educational levels, and income levels will also be involved. They will be discussed in Chapter Two. Some theories are also needed to be studied as research tools. Author will mainly apply the theories from Stephen M. Wheeler, Cliff Moughtin and Jan Gehl in this thesis and find an integrated way to resolve the questions.