Environmental improvements have transformed Augustenborg from a neighbourhood in decline to an exemplar of an environmentally adapted urban area. The area is once again seen as an attractive place to live and work.
The Augustenborg district of the city of Malmö in Sweden was built in the 1950s and was initially considered a highly successful mixture of housing, employment and social facilities. By the 1970s the 32-hectare neighbourhood was falling into decline. Upgrades to the thermal insulation of the Augustenborg estate with external metal cladding and insulation were less effective than planned, resulting in damp problems and poor external appearance. Annual flooding from an overwhelmed sewage system also led to further problems for residents, with disruption and damage to vehicles and private property. The estate suffered a spiral of decline as more people moved out, flats remained unoccupied and the residual population became marginalised with a high level of unemployment.
In the early 1990s the city council set out to improve the area by working with the MKB Housing Company, the housing landlord and local residents. This initial partnership led to a wide-ranging regeneration project, known as Ekostaden Augustenborg, which began in 1998. The initial focus of the project was on innovative environmental improvements, focusing on flooding, waste management and biodiversity. The project has successfully introduced a wide range of social benefits, such as a community car pool and an after-school youth club. The estate management company also offers employment opportunities to local young adults. The neighbourhood is now once again an attractive and thriving place, with a lower turnover of tenancies and no long-term vacant properties. The innovative approach taken to water-management has resulted in greater resilience to flooding. During a major flood in 2007, which was of a scale that occurs once in 50 years, Augustenborg coped much more successfully than nearby districts.