Thursday, February 04, 2010

Innovation drives new Stockholm showcase

STOCKHOLM. With a touch of royal glamour, Stockholm’s next showcase for modern urban development entered a new phase with the opening of an innovation center earlier this week. Stockholm Royal Seaport Innovation will be a hub for the creative minds that local authorities hope will put the Swedish capital in the forefront of sustainable city building.
The innovation center, located near the international ferry terminal, was inaugurated by H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria and attended by local leaders and representatives of numerous companies that hope to make their mark in a project that already is receiving wide-spread international attention.
The city of Stockholm and developers also signed a “World Class Agreement”, where companies involved in the project pledge to follow the ambitious climate goals set for the Royal Seaport.
“With the World Class Agreement we will show that it is possible to combine growth with strong measures for the environment and climate. Cities’ work for a better climate makes a difference,” said Stockholm’s Mayor Sten Nordin at the ceremony.
Stockholm has been chosen European Green Capital 2010 by the European Commission, the first city to receive this new title. The city is taking the opportunity to show its best features when in comes to urban development, and recently launched a new program for international study visits.
Anyone coming to the Swedish capital in the near future asking for the Stockholm Royal Seaport will probably meet confused looks from local residents. There isn’t really a place with that name, yet.
The new development is called Norra Djurgårdsstaden in Swedish. But with that being difficult to translate, local authorities came up with the name Stockholm Royal Seaport in English.
Located on the eastern fringe of central Stockholm, on the waters next to island suburb Lidingö, the area is now a mix of old residential neighbourhoods, office buildings, industries, a harbour and an oil terminal.
Somebody looked at a map and realized the potential to develop a connected new part of Stockholm, located just a five-minute subway-ride from the city center and next to two of the capital’s most important green, recreational areas.
It is mostly a so called brownfield development. Most harbour activities will move, with passenger ferries and cruise ships the exception.
Construction in the first stage of the development is expected to begin soon, with plans for 5,000 residences surrounding an old gasworks with industrial architecture (left) from the late 19th century. Some of the buildings, designed by the then young architect Ferdinand Boberg, will become focus points in the new neighbourhood, possibly housing cultural activities.
Boberg later became one of Sweden’s leading architects, designing a number of Stockholm landmarks.
When completed around 2025, Stockholm Royal Seaport will house some 10,000 apartments and 30,000 workplaces. Visions for the future include expanded public transport with plans for a new network of streetcars that will reach the Royal Seaport.
Stockholm has attracted local leaders and urban planners from around the world in a steady stream of visits to Hammarby Sjöstad, one of the first examples of sustainable urban development and since the late 90’s a source of pride for the city.
The ambition with Stockholm Royal Seaport is to take the experience from Hammarby Sjöstad and improve things in all aspects of development. A lot of this will be done in the new Innovation center, which will open its doors for cooperative efforts from city representatives, businesses, developers and researchers.
One example of the ambitions is that houses in the Royal Seaport will consume only half the energy of what already efficient buildings in Hammarby Sjöstad do.
Last year Stockholm Royal Seaport was chosen as one of 16 projects world-wide to be part of the Climate Positive Development Program, set up by former U.S. president Bill Clinton and his Clinton Climate Initiative.
We will return to the Stockholm Royal Seaport later on in this blog, to take a closer look at plans for the development.

Copyright: Dynagraph AB/City of Stockholm
Stockholm Royal Seaport (forefront), near the city center.

Copyright: Wingårdh Arkitektkontor AB/City of Stockholm (this and above, right)
Leading Swedish architect Gert Wingårdh's vision of new housing.

Industrial wasteland where construction soon will begin.

Cities aim for European Green Capital title

ENVIRONMENT. A total of 17 cities from 12 countries have entered the race for the prestigious title European Green Capital for 2012 and 2013.
An evaluation panel of international experts, appointed by the European Commission, will now select a shortlist of finalists. The winners will be presented at an award ceremony in Stockholm, the European Green Capital for 2010, in October.
The 17 contestants are:
Antwerp (Belgium), Barcelona (Spain), Budapest (Hungary), Bologna (Italy), Espoo (Finland), Glasgow (United Kingdom), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Lodz (Poland), Malmö (Sweden), Murcia (Spain), Nantes (France), Nürnberg (Germany), Reykjavik (Iceland), Rome (Italy), Seville (Spain), Torun (Poland) and Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain).
Hamburg, Germany, has been chosen as European Green Capital for 2011.