Three perspectives from our Head of development, Sustainability Strategist and City Planner
First detailed development plan approved for
The development of Värtahamnen entails extensive changes to the area, which in itself will be a new entrance to Stockholm from the sea side. A mixed urban environment will emerge and urban development will reach all the way down to the quays.
The Stockholm City Planning Committee approved the first detailed development plan for Södra Värtan Norra last year, an area where NIAM and Bonnier Fastigheter will build five office blocks covering a total area of 70,000 square metres.
Gasklocka 3 and 4 have been allocated to OBOS, and in Kolkajen, land allocation has been granted for sites including three wooden buildings to Among Giants Properties and Rico Estate Development. These will be the first wooden buildings planned for Stockholm Royal Seaport. Several new businesses have moved into Gasverket, including Sandvik, Bergh’s School of Communication and the Anna pre-school. In October, due to the pandemic, we hosted much of Open House at Gasverket digitally. The event had its own website, screened new information films, and presented archive material. Thousands of people attended the event for varying amounts of times. This shows that hosting activities for the public digitally does work – although we’re looking forward to meeting people in person again.
Norra 2 was the first phase of the project to have ambitious energy requirements. It has often been challenging for developers to achieve these energy targets. Many new lessons were learned, and the knowledge developed in Norra 2 has been applied in subsequent phases, such as Brofästet. Here, developers have now reported the first energy performance results after one year of occupancy and many have achieved our stated energy requirements. Requirements that have, in fact, been made stricter compared to Norra 2, where solar energy can no longer be used as compensation. Something that we can be proud of!
In 2020, digitalisation became an integral part of our work processes and we quickly learned new ways to collaborate remotely. Offices moved to people’s homes and everyday life became more apparent. For those of us working with the urban development, working from home has triggered considerable thought about how the new digital work environment will affect our view of housing and workplaces: the need for increased flexibility, as well as the need for resilience to crises and societal changes. Despite the pandemic, Stockholm Royal Seaport continues to deliver against established goals. We’re in the preparatory phases of our work on Loudden with extensive soil remediation, ongoing work with several major detailed development plans involving national agencies, and design work.
We continue to be proud of transforming these former industrial areas into attractive, safe, and resource-efficient new part of Stockholm.
We hope you will follow our progress!
Staffan Lorentz, Head of Development Stockholm Royal Seaport,
Stockholm City Development Administration
Vision of Pirhuset, Saltpiren and Saltkajen in Södra Värtan. Illustration: AIX Arkitektkontor
Positive energy results and new research and innovation projects
The pandemic affected everyone’s daily lives in 2020. In November, I was sitting at my kitchen table, on a video call explaining to the Estonian parliament how we work with climate adaptation in Stockholm Royal Seaport. Our capacity development seminars also went digital, which resulted in more people participating in them. On the other hand, we had fewer national and international study visits, and it has been harder to shift them to digital formats. And another sign that more people have spent more time at home is, for example, that the amount of residual waste has increased in Stockholm Royal Seaport compared to 2019.
To remain at the forefront of our industry and gain experience, we developed the third version of our governing document in 2020 – Sustainable Urban Development Programme – which is due to be adopted by Stockholm City Council in 2021. A key part of our knowledge development initiatives are the various research and innovation projects we participate in. In 2020, we launched four pilot schemes with different sensors in the urban space within the framework of the Connected SRS project. The MACRO innovation project is generating considerable interest from other municipalities and our submission for the Cities4PEDs project was approved.
It is encouraging to see measured energy performance data reported for the first buildings in the Brofästet phase after one year of occupancy. It is with shared ambitions, collaboration, and exchange of experience that we can continue to move forward in building and developing more sustainable cities and communities.
Christina Salmhofer, Sustainability Strategist
Stockholm Royal Seaport, Stockholms City
Guided tour during Open House Stockholm in November 2020. Here at the artwork Midas by Kirsten Ortwed.
Five Strategies for Sustainable Urban Development
How are urban planning principles implemented in Stockholm Royal Seaport? City planner Andreas Rostvik from the Stockholm City Planning Administration explains.
Our urban planning principles seek to raise the qualitative discussion at the various stages of the planning process and act as a catalyst for conversation about sound architecture and sustainable urban planning. The extent to which individual principles are complied with often differs from site to site, and they are interpreted on the basis of specific conditions. However, overall, our principles should serve as a common set of values that help us to make the right decisions. Below are some examples of how we are concretely working with the urban planning principles right now.
In Gasverket, a previously closed industrial area is being opened up and existing buildings being given new mixed functions and content. This will attract visitors from all over Stockholm. In the Kolkajen phase, the water arena will be a new, exciting public space. The new buildings and public spaces in Södra Värtan will allow Gärdet to extend down to the water front at Lilla Värtan, for which the first detailed development plan was approved by the City Planning Committee in 2020. Planning regulations and quality assurance programmes ensure considered design and variety in new buildings. The planning of Loudden is fully underway and our urban planning principles provide guidance for work on in-depth planning. The new structural plan will be made available at consultations in 2021.
Vision image: Kolkajen, including floating student accommodation. Illustration: Adept & Mandaworks
Accessibility and Proximity
The principle of adapting the environment to the human scale is evident in Gasverket with pedestrian streets between detailed cultural-historical buildings. In other places, such as the planned main street in Södra Värtan, this principle will partly contradict the ambition to provide its own space for sustainable means of transport, which will then give rise to more large-scale urban spaces.
One challenge is to bridge barriers. For example, stairs and lifts are required to connect the Gasverket and Hjorthagsberget areas. To remove the barrier that the eastern railway yard forms between Värtahammen and Gärdet, the City of Stockholm is running a project together with the Swedish Transport Administration. Rail capacity will be redistributed, and the railway yard will be converted into a main street lined with residential blocks.
Planned skate ramps in Värtan Park will support stormwater management and have aesthetic qualities. Illustration: City of Stockholm/Nyréns
Resource Management and Climate Responsibility
An example of using land efficiently is the parking garage under Hjorthagsberget, which offers an efficient parking solution and does not use land in competition with other uses. Existing caverns in Värtan and Loudden are also being studied for the same purpose. In several places, land reclamation is being studied using bulk material remaining from other infrastructure projects in an effort to use resources and land efficiently. Existing buildings, in Gasverket and in other places, are used and developed, which involves the management of existing resources.
Vision of Hjorthagsberget that will be turned into a car park with space for 1,600 cars. Photo: Adept & Mandaworks
Let Nature do the Work
Green courtyards provide aesthetic values and are meeting places for residents, at the same time as they manage stormwater and improve biological diversity. Trees and other vegetation in public space reduce the impact of heat waves and contribute to a better acoustic environment. Stormwater management solutions are well designed, add value to public space, and are designed for flexible use. One example is the planned skateboard ramp in Värtanparken, which is designed for skateboarding and receiving stormwater and has aesthetic qualities.
Vision image: Kolkajen, including floating student accommodation. Illustration: Adept & Mandaworks
Participation and Consultation
To create interest and commitment in Stockholm Royal Seaport while the area is being built, public activities and places for residents and visitors are organised, such as the lookout point above Hästhagsparken, “Gasverksdagen”, planter boxes, city walks, and participation in the Open House Stockholm architecture festival. New ideas and technology can be tested with the help of land allocation competitions. The plus-energy buildings in Brofästet were evaluated, for example, for energy efficiency and architectural qualities, while buildings in Kolkajen were evaluated for social sustainability and architectural qualities.
Andreas Rostvik, City Planner Stockholm Royal Seaport,
Stockholms City Planning Administration
Stockholm Royal Seaport received an award for best sustainable urban development area by C40 at the UN climate conference 2015 in Paris.