Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A look at major waterfront developments

URBAN PLANNING. For years politicians and city planners from around the world have come to Stockholm to visit Hammarby Sjöstad, a showcase urban development on the southern edge of the Swedish capital’s city center.
Once part of the plans for Stockholm’s failed bid for the 2004 summer Olympic Games, Hammarby Sjöstad has since the late 90’s developed into an admired example of modern city building for a sustainable future. It now has 15,000 inhabitants, moving towards 24,000 when the project is completed in 2017.
Waterfront developments like Hammarby Sjöstad have become the model for urban expansion in major cities around Europe.
I recently visited Hamburg, the second largest city in Germany, to see the ongoing construction of HafenCity on the banks of the river Elbe. HafenCity is the largest urban development project in Europe. When it is completed sometime in 2020-25 it will be home to 12,000 inhabitants and the workplace for up to 40,000 people.
HafenCity is already changing the face of Hamburg, with a whole new modern city growing rapidly next to the old city center. Like Hammarby Sjöstad, the idea behind HafenCity is to build new life into derelict old industrial and harbour areas no longer needed for their original use.
The new developments are full of climate smart solutions in everything from heating to public transportation and waste management. Hamburg has been chosen by the European Commission to take over from Stockholm as European Green Capital in 2011.
In the months to come, this blog will take a closer look at the lessons learned from Hammarby Sjöstad and tell you more about HafenCity. I will also look at Nordhavnen, a huge new waterfront development under way in the Danish capital Copenhagen.
In Stockholm planners and developers are getting ready to pass the baton from Hammarby Sjöstad to the new Royal Seaport, set to become the next Swedish showcase for modern urban development.
We will look at that too.

Modern light rail streetcar in Hammarby Sjöstad.

Viewing construction in HafenCity.

Tunnel works will disrupt Stockholm

STOCKHOLM. Office workers and residents in parts of central Stockholm will have to endure several years of disruptions as one of the city’s biggest infrastructure projects gains full speed in 2010.
A six kilometre long new tunnel under some of the most sensitive parts of the Swedish capital will finally bring long awaited increased rail capacity to the region. The new tunnel, called Citybanan, will more than double the capacity for commuter trains passing through Stockholm’s Central station when it’s completed in 2017.
Work is now becoming more and more visible as tunnel construction gets under way between Riddarholmen, next to Stockholm’s Old Town, and Södermalm. Other parts of central Stockholm will also have to get used to underground explosions and increased heavy traffic to and from work places.
Construction of the new tunnel will not only be a key to improved public transportation in Stockholm and the surrounding region. Eight out of ten train trips in Sweden begins or ends in Stockholm, where the two tracks leading into the Central station for years have been a bottle neck affecting train traffic in the whole country.
The project is estimated to cost 1.6 billion Euro (2.3 billion US dollars).

Underwater tunnel construction near Stockholm's Old Town.