Sustainable street transformation

MFA Umeå 2019
16 Weeks
In 2030 up to 60% of the population will be living in urban areas, making space a scarcity. As todays cities are based on fixed grey spaces, nature can‘t expand in the way it should for a healthy environment. Our vision for the cities of tomorrow is to reintroduce nature by partly repurposing asphalt streets into green spaces. The combination of an autonomous tarmac removal system and pre-planted modules tremendously lowers the sustainability impact on both nature and citizens. Now we not only have the chance to improve the life-quality in our neighbourhood in the long run, but also to do it in the most sustainable way possible. This project was done in collaboration with Husqvarna and is the result of a team project together with Ricardo Verheul.

„How can we bring back nature into our neighborhoods in the most sustainable way ?“

While cities grow, health and life quality declines
for both citizens and nature

By banning cars from city centres,
new possibilities arise to oppose this development

But removing asphalt and introducing large scale
construction sites comes with its own drawbacks

Our concept scenario covers the transformation of streets
and turning them into green space.

It does not only matter how our future will look like
but also how we get there.

Based on the research and user interviews, we defined three major areas which have the biggest sustainability impact:

The Husqvarna ATR System

In comparison to current solutions the Husqvarna ATR system drastically reduces the impact on the city life,
nature and citizens mental- and physical wellbeing. The system consists of three parts:
Two autonomous robots removing the asphalt, green modules bringing back nature and an online platform to keep control.

The cutting unit

The cutter uses water jet power to cut the tarmac into smaller tiles. By lowering its body to the ground, it minimises noise and dust pollution. Passerby will get noticed by a light indicator about the current state.

The lifting unit

The lifter takes out the tarmac tiles by grabbing the tiles from both sides with sliding arms. It stacks them in piles of three for easy pickup and transport .

Green module

But what happens after the asphalt has been removed? The Green-Modules-System is a modular platform, which is being pre-planted off-site. Each module features a sensory system, as well as an automated irrigation system. The biggest advantage though is the easy and fast installation through pick and place creating a sustainable worksite in the city.


Even before the first cut Husqvarna can help you figure out what works best in you situation. All data is being combined in an online platform, which will guide you to identify the optimal modules and plants. You also get an overview of current and future work-sites, as well as keep track off their progress.

Preparing the worksite

Initiated by citizens or upcoming laws, city administrations can turn to Husqvarna. Through combining multiple company segments they are able to provide a full service. The process starts by using on-site analysis, satellite image and sensor data in order to advice and plan the right solution for you and your environment.

Cutting the asphalt

The machines are deployed on-site and connected to local energy resources. The cutting unit will start separating the asphalt into smaller tiles while citizens can comfortably pass by.

Removing the asphalt

Afterwards the lifting unit grabs the tiles and lifts them into stacks of three, ready for pick-up. Depending on the size of the work-site, several machines can be deployed at the same time, working together to increase efficiency.

Installing green modules

The Gardena Green-Modules-System is being pre-planted off-site and can easily be installed through pick and place. By monitoring the soil health, also green maintenance can be reduced.

Expanding the modules

Due to the modularity each location can be customised, depending on the area needs such as recreation purposes, urban farming, biodiversity and many more.

Urban recreation

Urban gardening


We created a style with the focus on making the machines feel approachable and safe to be around,
while keeping a professional and powerful look.

The colour scheme represents the same characteristics
and allows to be well integrated into the surroundings while featuring a high visibility.


Main goal of this project was to not only create a green concept, but to also focus on how we can reach it in the most sustainable way. Looking at the global footprint, our vision while requiring the production of new equipment, succeeds in the long run.

Asphalt removal

While a construction site can not be invisible, our removal process of the asphalt takes place on a minimal footprint, without heavy machines, full road blocks, noise and dust pollution.


The installation of the green modules as well has a minimal impact on the city-life and additionally reduces the amount of maintenance in the later stages.