Exploring the world's built environments and seeking sustainable solutions.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Stockholm Royal Seaport Redevelopment Project

Our first couple days in Stockholm have been wonderful. Typical Stockholm weather -sun, rain, clouds, sun, rain, clouds....we spent the first day orienting ourselves to the issues and challenges of sustainability, and taking a 2 hour walking tour of the downtown, plazas, neighborhoods and streetscapes of the city (and, oh yeah, eating a huge vegetarian dinner on the bluffs of Sodermalm).

Day 2 started with a lecture from Thomas Stoll, an architect and planner with the City of Stockholm. Thomas and his colleague Johannes Claeson were kind enough to tell us all about one of the next major redevelopment areas of the city, the Royal Seaport. A 660 acre brownfield development only minutes by subway from downtown, is an integral part of the city's overall planning strategy to "build the city inward." The site is one of 12 future infill/redevelopment areas that will accomodate the majority of the city's growth in the next 30-40 years. The site is an old industrial port that was home to gas and oil plants, and other major industries. The Royal Seaport will be redeveloped into 10,000 new housing units for 25,000 residents, and 30,000 new jobs in various sectors. The environmental goals for the project, built on the success of Hammarby Sjostad (see tomorrow's blog), are ambitous: fossil fuel free district by 2030, adapted to climate change, and focused on ecological cycles. The project also has an impressive emphasis on social goals and interaction such as public participation, accessibility, children's enjoyment and use, historical and cultural sites preservation, and reuse of old structures (like a gas plant for a concert hall!).

How will they do it? Like Hammarby, they are closely linked to the subway, tram and ferry system; most of the inner part of the project will be car free; they hope to beat Hammarby's ratio of car trips to transit/walk/bike trips of 2/3 to 1/3. There will be only .5 parking spaces per unit; and there will be many lifestyle innovations like car sharing, bike and walking promtion, and smart transit information in homes (e.g. a real time map of when the bus or train will come). Also like many parts of the city, they will use district heating and cooling from a co-generation plant located on site (it is already part of the industrial area). The plant will use a combination of bio-fuels from lumber waste and urban waste and various oils (like olive oil waste). They will also make bio-gas and collect energy from the wastewater treatment process. The buildings will all have maximum energy efficiency (they are experimenting with our LEED system); and they will have a unique recycling system like Hammarby.

This major project is just in the planning stages, but it appears to be the "next step up" from Hammarby (which is fully built). They are still working on how to measure and monitor their performance, and they will need to work carefully with each and every developer and builder to ensure that their targets are met. The world will wait and see and wish the City the best of luck!

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