Age profile? Majority is between 30-40.
Size? 2 square kilometers including the water.
Going to Hammarby Sjöstad feels like stepping into a time machine that fires you into the future. It is the Swedish equivalent of China’s development of the Jang’an district of Shangai – Sjöstaden is a part of that same ecological sustainability effort, where the plans look something like The Capital City in Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. Yet, the goal isn’t about developing the physical aspects of the future but rather creating a lifestyle that will preserve our future. Hammarby Sjöstad wanted to set an example for other cities: that a sustainable community can be achieved in a capital city. And while the area was recently described by “The Economist,” as one of the top examples of sustainable urban planning the questions remain –is it really? And if so, how?
Originally known as Hammarbyhamnen, the area was previously an industrial zone that surrounded a piece of functionalist architecture known as Lumafabriken, and at one point a trailer park inhabited the patch known as Lugnet.
The development of Hammarby Sjöstad started back in the 1980s. The name (meaning Hammarby Lake City in case you don’t speak Swedish) was fitting – it was a place completely surrounded by water. At that time, it was clear that there was an opportunity to expand Stockholm’s inner city, but in order to do so the area would have to be converted from an old industrial harbour area into an urban city district. Plans were drawn up for the Tvärbanan, which would connect Gullmarsplan station to Hammarby Sjö.
Technically, some parts of Hammarby Sjöstad are outside of the perimeters of what is considered to be the inner city of Stockholm, but the plans for the area always had a more urban than suburban feel. This was always the aim – that the area would have more of an appeal for people looking for an urban city feel, rather than a sometimes sleepy suburbia.
Hammarby Sjöstad is implementing a new “growth ring” to the urban growth of Stockholm. In plain terms, the area is and will be a combination of wood, steel, and stone and will be a modern and semi-open block-based city. Many walkways, parks, and quays have been created in the area and a visual park has been situated in the center of the district, not to take away from the water that is the heart of the area.
Tall buildings have been purposely situated to face the water and placed on both sides of the Hammarby seaway. The social environment of Sickla Udde is more personal and intentionally built with a smaller scale. The buildings fade in size as they close in on the seashore beaches. Then the area mimics the outline of the land as it rises towards the peaks of the avenues and Sickla Park.
The area of Sickla Kaj is much larger-scale, with tall buildings giving a much more urban feel. Hammarby Gård is denser, comprising a park area and a uniquely designed pool. The former trailer park, Lugnet, now houses the waterfront terrace Lugnets terrass, and also holds one of Hammarby Sjöstad’s most interesting architectural buildings – a latticed, cube-shaped building that is around twice the size of the buildings surrounding it.
The last area that is still being built up is Henriksdalshamnen. Plans for the area include many quays that will create a basin to house more restaurants and small boats.
Plans and actions
There were originally a lot of ambitions for the project of Hammarby Sjöstad and the plans needed time for success. So… what are they and how were they panning out?
80% of residents and employees journeys to be made by public transport, cycling or on foot.
In order to make this goal a reality, the city council has invested in a vast amount of walkways, green spaces, and wooden jetties. There are plans to improve access for public transportation,, and car pools have also been a big part of the culture in Hammarby Sjöstad. Over 900 people have already joined the car pool, which currently has a total of 46 cars at its disposal. Electric cars also have access to rechargers outside of the GlashusEtt information building.
100 liters of water consumption per day instead of the 200 liters per day that Stockholm city residents average.
The efforts for ecological installations have already reduced consumption to 150 liters in the area.
Cleaner waste water.
With Sjöstadsverket, a test treatment plan for waste water, the city plans to continually utilize cutting-edge technology to reduce hazardous substances and separate phosphorus out of waste water for use on farms. Hammarby Sjöstad has implemented waste management in three parts: property-based, which contains the heaviest and largest volumes of waste; block-based, which includes packaging, bulky waste, or electrical materials; and area-based, which is hazardous waste. The waste is transported to the central collection station via vacuum suction from the refuse chutes, which avoids heavy lifting and eliminates the need to drive into the area.
Residents will themselves produce 50% of the fuel used in production of heating, cooling, electric power and biogas.
At the moment, the Hammarby heating power plant treats the waste water, using the energy to heat the district. After the waste water is cooled, it can be used in the circulating in the district cooling network in Hammarby Sjöstad and other areas in the city. Sewage and food waste can be used to produce biogas, which is in turn used to power the city’s busses and as fertilizer. Many solar panels have also been installed on the roofs of buildings in Hammarby Sjöstad which help to heat the water. The solar panels that have been installed on the roof of the Viken block produce about half of the building’s annual hot water requirements.
26,000 residents, with around 36,000 in total either living or working there.
By building up the area, creating more access to the city and building more apartments, the city council is hoping to have about 26,000 inhabiting the area, with about 10,000 more working in the area.
Where is Hammarby Sjöstad at now?
Unfortunately there has been no recent evaluation of how close the city is to reaching their goals. The last measuring of the environmental impact was done in 2008 by the consultancy firm Grontmij. Their analysis was a comparison with the start of this eco-friendly project in the 1990s, and the report found that at that point in time Hammarby Sjöstad had already had about 32-39% less emissions into the air, soil, and water.
The index for consumption of non-renewable energy raw materials shows a reduction of 28-42% for buildings, building plots and zones. Over-fertilization has decreased by around 50%, ground level ozone by around 35%, and water consumption by around 43%.
Grontmij concluded that the most important and largest accomplishment of the area so far had been the decrease in the environmental impact of the buildings, which had declined by 67-70% due to changes of heating in the operating phase, the use of pure water and the processing of wastewater.
So what does this all mean in simple terms? Progress. Hammarby Sjöstad have actually made some serious steps from its start in 1990s.
Malena Karlsson from GlashusEtt told us more of its progress and plans.
“The first estimated plans were that Hammarby Sjöstad would be finished by 2012, but now the time is set for about 2018. The changes in the development plans include more apartments instead of earlier planned offices. There is also a possible project that will connect Hammarby Sjöstad with a residential area on a somewhat higher level south of Sjöstaden.
But otherwise, most of the projects are those which were planned from the very beginning. What the future holds is more up to the people who live here. The organization HS2020 will hopefully be able to realize some of our visions with more energy-efficient buildings and continue the journey for a eco-friendly environment.”
HS 2020 is a citizen-driven project that quickly caught on to to the city’s desire to make Hammarby Sjöstad a sustainable living environment. The project is part of an EU-funded research project, driven by KTH, to further develop Hammarby’s concept for energy efficiency. HS2020 wants to see the area go further than just a plan for an eco-friendly environment – the idea is to keep the renewal going for this new city. The people behind HS2020 believe that Hammarby Sjöstad is a place that is capable of this renewal. Heading HS2020 is Stockholm’s Allan Larsson, who previously served as Sweden’s Minister of Finance in the early 1990s and also served as the President of the University of Lund. Allan has been an avid supporter of preserving the environment and works on many eco-friendly projects in Scandinavia alongside the HS2020 project.
Larsson explained the HS2020 plans a little further.
“We would like to take Hammarby Sjöstad to a new level of innovation for sustainable development. We focus on electromobility, energy efficiency, upgrading of the recycling system, the new generation of water technology, a new communications system for local communities, world-class cultural activities and a new center for indoor skiing,” says Larsson.
“We have a long-term, research-based perspective, aiming for 2020. However, we are making good progress. Our project “SjöstadsOperan” is already in operation, and we have four premier performances live from the Met, London Royal Theater and the Stockholm Opera. Four more are scheduled for the next few months. We are on the way to start the EV project in co-operation with a great number of enterprises in the area of electromobility. We are starting a pilot project in one housing association on a new form of energy management, which will soon be followed by many other associations.”
I asked Allan what he thought about the criticisms that perhaps Hammarby Sjöstad wasn’t actually as eco-friendly as people say it is.
“Yes and no. Hammarby Sjöstad is better than most other new towns. However, energy performance is not as good as the housing and construction enterprises were expected to deliver. That is the reason why we have given priority to energy efficiency. In close cooperation with the housing associations, we are determined to bring the use of energy below 100 kWh per square meter a year, which is the goal for Hammarby Sjöstad. We have all the facts, we know what to do and we have strong partners that will help us to reach this goal. We will make Hammarby Sjöstad a demo city in this area.”
Culture in Hammarby Sjöstad
Hammarbybacken has been a hub for winter downhill skiing and snowboarding in Stockholm, and it’s not everywhere you see inner cities housing ski slopes for their residents! In the summer, the slope is turned into a downhill extreme bike experience. But unfortunately Hammarbybacken is a mirror image of its popularity – a downward slope. The numbers are not adding up to what they should be for such a popular sport in our country. HS2020 is determined to turn things around and has big plans for the spot. They plan to build a year-round facility for skiing that will include ski tunnels. The project also hopes to provide a space for exercise for families and children, all the while using an efficient energy system and providing an opportunity for people to interact with nature by jogging, swimming, or skiing.
When speaking with Allan Larsson, he let me know that the plans were underway: “We have support from a number of partners, including the Stockholm Sport administration. We have good discussions with construction and real estate companies on investment in indoor skiing facilities, based on new energy-saving technologies. There is not yet a timetable, but our aim is to turn Hammarbybacken into Stockholm Ski Center before 2020.”
Opened in 2011, the goal of the Opera House was to be the cultural heart of Hammarby Sjöstad – a place where both young and old could meet in one place with common interests. The Opera House is a place for a bit of everything – music, dance, interesting speakers, and learning. The building has started many associations in order to build up resident interest in the culture of Stockholm and the world. The newest groups include the Gourmet Society, the film club, a reading circle and it hosts activities for children on Sunday afternoons.
The unopened but much-anticipated brewery is set to enter the life of Hammarby Sjöstad in January 2014 and will bring something very unique to the area. The New Carnegie Brewery is a creation by the popular Brooklyn Brewery and Carlsberg. This collaboration is working together to bring our favourite beers from Brooklyn, as well as some new creations.
But that’s not all. The brewery will also have a restaurant attached that will offer both Swedish and international cuisine and the chance to taste all of its handcrafted beers. We chatted with plant manager Fredrik Vogel to learn more about why they chose Hammarby Sjöstad for the brewery’s home.
“Hammarby Sjöstad has grown to be a part of Stockholm city and we thought it was the perfect place to be. We found the iconic building right on the water and that’s really rare. Between the view and the atmosphere people will get a matchless experience at our brewery and restaurant.” He also told us that the brewery will be a part of the efforts to keep the area eco-friendly. “We will be using biogas from the Henriksdal treatment plant for all heating and boiling of our beers. We also will be giving back our waste for recycling so it can be re-used to make biogas among other things.”
A little quaint but beautiful bistro lies within the streets of Hammarby Sjöstad and it’s a must-stop if you’re in the area. Known by locals as “Vinoteket,” it is a favourite among residents in Hammarby Sjöstad for its amazing wine bar and simple warm atmosphere.
One word: Kanelbullar. I have obviously tried countless kanelbullar around the city, always searching for the perfect one and I think Fine Food has made the best yet!
The café is set up just like any great café should be – the décor is perfect and the employees are armed with smiling faces. You’ll find the regular pair of girls chatting over coffee in the corner, the young mother reading a book with coffee as her child sleeps, and the business man typing away on his computer out for fika, having that much-needed escape from the office.
Magnus Johansson Bageri & Konditori
Right on the corner of Lugnets Allé and Hammarby Allé lies a great café and bakery brought to you by one of the jurors of Sweden’s new show Dessertmästarna on Kanal 5, Magnus Johansson. It is the perfect spot for fresh bread, different buns (including chocolate!), and a lovely cup of coffee. The bakery is known by locals for its Swedish mazarin, and with an owner that is part of the Nobel Prize dinner team, we know it’s nothing short of spectacular. The café Magnus’s love story with Hammarby Sjöstad started from just a simple chance, Magnus told us.
“’My wife and I were passing by Hammarby every day and we heard that it was an up-and-coming area. We wondered if the construction would ever be finished, but we saw that businesses were opening and so we decided to open the cafe. I’m so glad that we did. Our customers have made us feel very welcome here from the beginning. It feels like an honour to be here.”
Spoon Nautica Café
A cute and quaint little café situated right by the water. The Swedish flag hangs proudly at the door and the aroma can be smelled from outside, which gives a real welcoming feeling. It’s the type of café that once you go there more than once, they know you by name.
Göteborg restaurant is a favourite for many Stockholmers because of its beautiful views of the Lake City. Situated on the water, the restaurant is a hot spot in the summer months with its great wooden platforms placed outside. People can enjoy a drink or great food at all times in its gorgeous setting.
Adidas Factory Outlet
With Hammarby Sjöstad’s focus on eco-friendly environment is no surprise Adidas Factory Outlet decided to place its store on its streets. An area that is built up for walking has the perfect place that provides exactly what you’ll need for that purpose That’s not the only thing – enjoy the very affordable and discounted prices for this very popular brand.
So what’s missing?
MORE culture! The Opera House and ski area are a meek attempt at culture in the area and these restaurants, cafés, and shops I have selected are one of a kind. These are the only things that bring any sort of culture to the area. The disappointing part is these places are actually pretty amazing and often overshadowed by the fact that the area lacks life because there aren’t enough of them. In order for an area to thrive, it needs notable attractions. With some of the new additions that are in the midst of being carried out it will leave more room for the introduction of new activities, shops and restaurants, or so I’ve heard. I really hope so.