Sustainable Cities™

Stockholm Royal Seaport: Aiming for World-Class Sustainability

The latest project in Stockholm´s drive for sustainable city planning is called Stockholm Royal Seaport (Norra Djurgårdsstaden). The project is very extensive, constituting one of the largest city planning projects in Europe. As such, it is also very ambitious in its goals to create a district that can function as a model for other growing cities around the world.

Stockholm Royal Seaport
Stockholm Royal Seaport

When finished, Stockholm Royal Seaport plans to hold 10.000 new apartments and 30.000 new work places. In addition to housing and offices, the area will also include urban parks, an art gallery and a harbor for cruise ships. The area is located immediately east of the city center, right by the water and the Royal Urban National Park, making it a very attractive area for a new district.

The area has been part industrial land and part Royal hunting grounds, and the project aims to preserve its history by integrating it into the planned neighborhoods. The old industrial gasometers that have been the symbol of the area up until now will be transformed into apartments and a cultural center, or torn down and re-erected in spirit by the Swiss architect duo Herzog & de Meuron - the creators of amongst other things London Tate Modern.

As the City of Stockholm is the owner of the land, high demands are being put on the project to be on the front lines of sustainability. The project is part of Stockholm´s plans to densify the city as well as branding Stockholm as a leading city in green urban planning. The ambitious project includes goals such as being fossil fuel free, made possible through initiatives such as energy efficient transportation, food waste becoming biogas as well as reuse and circulation of water, waste and energy within the district.

Digital vision of the planned area, developed by Dynagraph AB on request of the City of Stockholm

When an urban project claims to be environmentally friendly, fossil fuel free, or climate positive as the City of Stockholm puts it, it is important to scrutinize what exactly they intend to do to achieve this. When cities stride to be an international role model, focus is often put on high tech- and flag ship solutions on the expense of less obvious long term sustainability.

Will the product be as green as the plan?

By reading the City of Stockholm´s program on the area, you do get a picture of a project - at least on the paper- serious about embracing all aspects of sustainability. Much effort is put into the most visible features; such as planting oaks for biodiversity and creating spectacular green-design buildings. However, there is also a more far-reaching analysis on the effect of city form for travel patterns and an emphasis on the district´s effect on the neighboring sea.

Social sustainability is unfortunately, as often, given the least attention. The hands-on solutions are rented flats mixed with tenant-owned, and mixed uses throughout the district. The program does however mention inspiring ideas that could work to create social sustainability in the longer run, such as programs for participation and engagement in the district.

If Stockholm Royal Seaport lives up to the high expectations set, there is a good chance it can truly become the "world-class environmental district" it strides to be. Yet, this requires that there continues to be high demands throughout the process on implementing the ideals and being open to new innovative thinking.


Read more:
>> Double Up On Sustainability in Stockholm
>> Hammarby Sjöstad: Intregrated Sustainability as a Main Focus
>> Växjö: Fossil Fuel Free City



Last updated Tuesday, January 21, 2014