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  5. 4. Let nature do ...

4. Let nature do the work

Water and vegetation in Stockholm Royal Seaport play a key role in the social, economic, and ecological development of the area. Through intelligent design, blue and green structures can fulfil multiple functions, contribute to synergy effects, and provide ecosystem services. This offers opportunities in terms of recreation and attractiveness values that contribute to improved health and wellbeing.

The local climate is improved, and the effects of coming climate change reduced; meanwhile biodiversity increases, and dispersal zones strengthened, making the city more resilient to future challenges. Furthermore, food cultivation at scale in the area can contribute to local food production.

The strategy contributes to meeting the global goals:

The strategy contributes to meeting the global goals:

Here we report on and provide examples of what is being done to meet sustainability targets.

4.1 Create and strengthen ecosystem services

Intelligent design ensures that vegetation and water fulfils multiple functions, contributes to synergy effects, and provides ecosystem services. To date, a total of 91,700m² green spaces, such as parks and green areas, courtyards, and green roofs, created in Stockholm Royal Seaport, see table 4.1.

Table 4.1 Let nature do the work – key figures

EtappNorra 2BrofästetGasverket VästraGasklocka 4VästraNorra 1
Norra 2BrofästetGasverket VästraJackproppenVästraNorra 1
Proportion green space of total area, %38381446 39 37
Green oasis, m²/resident8,15,7Not relevant605,613,4

Public open spaces

High-quality green structures in public open spaces are crucial in enabling ecosystem services. In all, 42,500m² – or six football pitches – of new park area has been created. That is the equivalent to 17m² per dwelling. Street vegetation and rain gardens cover a total area of 3,250m².

Sixty trees of around 10 different species were planted during the year. Trees provide shade and reduce temperatures. On streets, water is channelled to tree pits and green spaces with biochar-infused soil enables large amounts of water can be disposed of while at the same time guaranteeing favourable plant-growing conditions. Read more

Green structures in public open spaces

All stormwater from public open spaces and overflow water from development sites is channelled via drains to plant beds with biochar-infused soil that store water and ensure good plant growth. Plant beds soak up water and release it gradually towards Husarviken. In the event of heavy rain, when waterflows are at their greatest, ponds and retention basins capture water that would otherwise cause flooding. Parks and other green areas are able to store large amounts of water. Trees have been planted provide shade, temperature regulation, and reduce the effects of heatwaves. Green spaces also provide opportunities for recreation, calm, and access to nature on a daily basis. See table 4.2.

Trees in public open spaces

Access to green spaces promotes health and wellbeing. Throughout the area, the maximum walking distance from every property to a park is 200 metres.

Table 4.2 Green structures and open public spaces

EtappNorra 2BrofästetGasverket VästraGasklocka 4VästraNorra 1
Norra 2BrofästetGasverket VästraJackproppenVästraNorra 1
Share of apartments that have access to parks and nature areas within 200 m100 %100 %Not relevant100 %100 % 100 %
Park, m² per apartment1812Not relevant401226
Rain gardens, m²7004003872.3500
Plant beds, m²137904500680640
Trees, piece1201046612209118

Parks and green areas within 200 metres

Dispersal zones

Stockholm Royal Seaport is located next to the Royal National City Park and green structures in the northern section of the area play a key role in a dispersal network for oak-living species and amphibians. At the planning stage, these habitats were protected and strengthened through planting and the building of a tunnel for amphibians, wetlands, and a retention basin. The area is home to several endangered and protected species.

In 2018, the Hjorthagsparken park area was completed as part of the dispersal zone. The park’s placement, design, and contents strengthens the local ecosystem, especially oak and amphibian linkages. This includes local plants such as oak, meadows, and moisture-loving perennials. A tunnel was built for amphibians under Lövängsgatan and Bobergsgatan making it easier for amphibians to move around the area.


Important ecological dispersal linkages between Stockholm Royal Seaport and Royal National City Park

Development sites

Green Space Index (GSI) as a requirement document in combination with stormwater strategy supports well-thought out solutions that sustain plant growth, contributes to stormwater retention and recreational pursuits at development sites. The size and design of courtyards, walls, and roofs influence how much eco-efficient surface can be created. To date, 22,500m² green roofs and 34,100m² green courtyards have been installed, see table 4.3. Read more

Development sites Green Space Index

Developers are required to meet set GSI requirements that calculate ecologically-active areas.


  • A GSI of 0.6 is to be achieved for dwellings and 0.4 for business premises.
  • Existing buildings in Gasverket are not included in the scheme due to cultural and historical reasons.
  • Norra 1, Västra and Värtaterminalen have voluntary commitments.

With a small number of exceptions, developers have fulfilled the requirements, see diagram 4.1. The two first phases Norra 1, Västra and Värtaterminalen were not required to use the GSI in their design process, nor have the results been reviewed by the City of Stockholm. Further social areas and biotope roofs are planned for later phases. Biotope roofs have deeper plant beds that store large amounts of rain water and enable increased plant variation. It is important to co-ordinate at an early stage, primarily with developers’ structural design teams because loads tend to be large.

Diagram 4.1 Green Space Index average per phase

Green roofs and Green Space Index per courtyard and developers

Green roofs

Norra 2

Norra 2 was the first phase that was required to meet stricter requirements. All developers met the requirements, but the elevated ambition levels of the early stages of the process have been revised downwards. For example, the weight of green roofs was not always considered at the early design stage, which ultimately resulted in lighter sedum roofs being selected. All roofs, building courtyards, and several walls have been used to achieve the requirement. Courtyards are better designed for visits and are perceived as being greener than previous phases.

Diagram 4.2 Achieved GSI per courtyard, Norra 2

  • Stora Sjöfallet (Bonava, SSM, Viktor Hanson, Wallenstam): More varied green roofs than typical sedum roofs, three large oaks, climbing plants on facades and integrated balcony boxes, bird, and bat boxes. Worked with design ideas such as meadows and marshy woodland.
  • Hornslandet (Stockholmshem): Many trees such as oak and fruit trees, flowering perennials, edible plants, dissipated flowering throughout the season, climbing plants on pergolas and on wires on gables, cultivation opportunities on the terrace, water dischargers on latticed walls.
  • Sonfjället (Erik Wallin, HEBA, Skanska): Wigwam, integrated balcony boxes, natural species selection, rain garden, deep plant beds, edible plants, climbing plants on buildings in conjunction with the building’s architecture.

In Brofästet, the requirement was met by a greater margin than in the earlier Norra 2 phase, although as with previous phases, levels tended to decrease during the process. It is clear that understanding of the GSI has increased and that systemic thinking about stormwater management and integrated planting surfaces were incorporated at early stages of the process.

Diagram 4.3 Achieved GSI per courtyard, Brofästet

  • Backåkra, courtyard 1 (Besqab, Oscar Properties, Åke Sundvall, Stockholmshem): courtyard with good plant depth, stormwater integrated into design, bushes with edible berries, rain gardens, green facades, well-planned social spaces. Planning of the courtyard is a good example of co-ordination between developers, landscape architects and water and drainage contractors ensuring stormwater is managed sustainably
  • Backåkra, courtyard 2 (Stockholmshem, Tobin Properties, Einar Mattsson): large areas of unreinforced ground, large co-ordinated green roofs, substantial soil depth of more than 800mm over the soffit. Almost half of all green roofs are thick meadow roofs that attract bees and butterflies. Continuous work on retaining stormwater with the help of combined systems of roofs and rain beds (local green-blue stormwater management).
  • Koppången, courtyard 1 (HSB, Riksbyggen): roof terraces on all buildings which are accessible for all residents. One of the roofs has a biotope roof with dead wood and varied vegetation. Many social areas with pergolas and grassy areas for play. A large oak at the centre of the courtyard. Stormwater management integrated into design.
  • Koppången, courtyard 2 (Einar Mattsson): Combined green roofs with solar panels. Visible sedum roof, large green facades on gavels and shared roof terraces. A large oak, flowering plants, and fauna beds in the courtyard. High quality furniture and system thinking throughout. Co-ordinated, multi-stage connection which is good for purification and retention. Uses every conceivable surface in the area for stormwater management. Levelling adjustments optimised to avoid damage to buildings and to enable heavier flows of water to be channelled away from the inner courtyard.
Gasverket Västra

Given the cultural and historical significance of the area, existing buildings are exempt from the requirements. Surfaces around the sports hall, school, and pre-school are subject to substantial stress and are used differently to neighbourhood courtyards, which makes it harder to include all desired functions. These uses require hardened surfaces, which means that vegetation is focused on edge spaces, roofs, and vertical surfaces.

  • Hjorthagshallen (Real Estate Administration): the requirement was not met. A sports hall is planned which will include climbing plants on wires along the building’s facade and skeletal soil with stormwater managed trees and sedum roofs.
  • Bobergsskolan (SISAB): small playground, which results in considerable wear and thereby more of a requirement for hardened surfaces.
  • Pre-school (Vectura): the pre-school has sedum roofs, fruit trees and flowering trees and bushes, and climbing plants on fences.

Jackproppen (playground building), does not meet these requirements because of shallow soil depths for its sedum roof and because the property occupies an entire development site.

Södra Värtan is currently at an early stage of development and its values significantly exceed the requirements. There are plans to use roofs more than in previous phases, for example by installing a large number of biotope roofs and roof-top terraces with social areas. There is a tendency for results to decrease from previous phases up until buildings are ready. It is important to establish co-operation between different disciplines such as architects, landscape architects, structural design, and water and drainage experts.

What the residents think

The 2019 resident survey shows that 68 per cent of residents are satisfied with the outdoor environment in their courtyard areas. Eighty-seven per cent are satisfied with the area’s outdoor environment and 84 per cent visit parks and natural areas on a daily basis or several times a week.

How targets have been met
4.1 Utilise ecosystem services to build a resilient and healthy urban environment94% of property developers fulfill GSI.
100% of dwellings have access to park and natural areas within 200 metres.
Biochar used in plant beds in Stockholm Royal Seaport have sequestered 1,700 tonnes CO2 to date.
To date, 22,500m² green roofs and 34,100m² green courtyards have been built.

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Key figures: 

  • 22 500 m² green roofs have been built.
  • 100% of the residents have a park within 200 meters.
  • 7,8 m² green oasis per resident.