In Stockholm Royal Seaport, previously closed industrial areas are being transformed into an open and attractive part of Stockholm. Development is based on creating space for daily life, such as parks and squares and public and private services.
Gasverket building 8, the former gas purification building, now rented by Berghs School of Communication, won the 2021 Stockholm Master Builder’s redevelopment prize. The following citation accompanied the award:
“The project clearly demonstrates how preserving existing values can result in qualitative, long-term, and sustainable solutions. The building has been entirely reused, few materials have been removed, and few new materials have been added.”
3,160 dwellings, of which 52% are rental apartments, 8% of which are student housing. 60 developers have been allocated land for a total of 5,650 dwellings.
2 squares, 4 parks, 4 playgrounds, 1 play park and 1 outdoor gym. 1 elementary school, 10 pre-schools, 1 sports hall and 1 library.
7 buildings in the old Gasverket area have been granted a new lease of life.
16% of public open space has social values equivalent to 26m2 per dwelling.
Gasverket: a meeting place for knowledge and culture
Gasverket provided energy for Stockholmers for more than a hundred years. In 2011, the site was closed down, and remediation work started. The urban development around Gasverket gives the former industrial area a new lease of life, and the buildings of cultural and historical interest complement the contemporary buildings, such as Boberg School. The opening of the school in 2019 marked the beginning of a new era. Since then, more businesses have moved in, including Berghs School of Communication and Klätterverket (Rock-climbing facility) with a restaurant in the old gas metering building. Spårvägsmuseet (The tramway museum) is to open on Bobergstorget in the spring of 2022.
Renovation work is underway in one of the old brick gasholders designed by Ferdinand Boberg, which in a few years will be a new cultural centre in Stockholm. To preserve the volume and space of this historically important facility and protect the old brick walls, the centre’s stage is planned to be a free-standing structure inside the old one.
In addition to building new, we will also recover and reuse several old buildings and give them a new lease of life. Transforming existing buildings with new functions is one of the most sustainable things we can do.
Gasverket continues to be developed as a local centre and destination for all Stockholmers. The painstaking work of redeveloping these buildings and returning them to use has attracted widespread interest and seen the project win awards and nominations.
What’s it like living in Stockholm Royal Seaport?
Space is created for all in Stockholm Royal Seaport with varied buildings and content that makes the area populated and safe around the clock, all year round. All phases of the project contain various housing types and sizes of apartments to make it possible to live in the area in different phases of life. More than half of the dwellings built to date are rental apartments, and 8 per cent of these are student housing.
Diagram 1.1 Division of apartment sizes of what has been completed in Stockholm Royal Seaport.
The majority of construction work to date has been residential buildings. However, ground floor premises along the main roads provide space for everyday services such as grocery stores and other services. Schools and pre-schools are also within walking distance. There are several new meeting places in the immediate area for children and young people such as a library, sports hall, activity area with parkour, playgrounds and play parks. Commercial areas currently amount to approximately 20 per cent of completed premises.
Regular residents’ surveys provide residents with opportunities to comment on their neighbourhoods. One of the most recurring issues is safety. The proportion of residents who feel safe in the area is 80 per cent, which compares with an average of 70 per cent for the rest of Stockholm (2019). Residents’ surveys show that women and men feel equally safe. Residents believe that the area is good for young adults, the middle-aged and older; four out of five think that the area is good for children to grow up in. To further increase safety, regular safety walks are conducted to identify opportunities for improvement. In recent years, around ten safety walks have been carried out to identify and address issues.
Publicly accessible open spaces with social values – known as sociotopes – such as parks, squares, quays, beaches and nature areas are also being planned in the area. To date, 16 per cent of the total area is sociotope, which corresponds to 26m² per dwelling. Green oases amount to 11m² per dwelling. According to the residents’ survey, the vast majority of residents are very or fairly satisfied to live in the area, with the most appreciated aspect being the access to parks and nature areas, and the quality of the outdoor environment. The majority who move to the area do so because they need a larger home.
National interests present challenges
To date, more than 3,000 dwellings have been built in Stockholm Royal Seaport, and almost as many are land-allocated. Several land allocations have been delayed due to changed circumstances. Stockholm Royal Seaport needs to consider complex issues of national importance – known as riksintressen (national interests) – related to its location. Examples are the port, Östlig förbindelse (Eastern Link motorway) and Värtabanan (a train service). National interests are a tool that the Swedish government uses to monitor interests of special national importance in community planning. Urban development in the southern areas of Värtahamnen is dependent on a section of the Värtabanan railway yard being moved and whether and where the Eastern Link will be built. The question of how noise from ships in the port can be addressed affects where and how much housing can be built.
This urban development project prepares for these considerations as far as possible. Extensive ground work is underway in current development plans. At Loudden, remediation work on the oil storage tanks has largely been completed and design work is in progress.
Interaction between city and port
An important balance exists between having an active port adjacent to housing as a key aspect of a mixed urban environment. Both piers in Stockholm Royal Seaport are important passenger ports for Baltic Sea traffic. The development of Stockholm Royal Seaport will strengthen the port with a new and clear entrance to Stockholm. At the same time, the city moves closer to the water, opening up the area and giving it a new lease of life. The waterfront location provides excellent opportunities for quays and public places where varied content and careful design create a vibrant and attractive part of Stockholm.
Historically, the waterfront has mainly been used for transport and activities connected to the port. The work of concentrating the port’s operations has been going on for many years. Two milestones were the expansion of Värtapiren with the new terminal and when container handling moved from Frihamnen to the newly built port in Nynäshamn.
The Valparaiso phase of the project is centrally located by the port, Värtabanan and Norra länken (the Northern Link) – an area that requires new thinking to create an attractive urban environment, integrated with infrastructure and where even covered areas have vibrant content. For many years, the area was intended to be for retail. However, over time, needs have changed. Now, a mixed urban area with offices, retail, hotels, culture and housing is planned. In 2021, the City of Stockholm launched a land allocation competition to find an anchor developer for the development.
Connections, entrances and meeting places in the Royal National City Park
The proximity to the Royal National City Park is a great asset for Stockholm Royal Seaport. Therefore, it is important to create connections and entrances to the park and carefully manage the interaction between the park and new buildings.. Buildings next to Husarviken are slightly lower and with colour schemes that align with colours found in the park.
The development of Stockholm Royal Seaport will likely lead to more visitors to the park with increased wear and tear as a result. Directing visitors in a structured way to the park’s various destination points and recreational trails can contribute to the area being preserved over time, in terms of plant and animal life. Even within the planning areas, there are opportunities to create good connections to the Royal National City Park and make it easier for people to move from nature into the urban environment. Clearly marked entrances to the park help control flows of people in and out of the park and ensure that visits are enjoyable. A review of these issues in Loudden started in 2021 in collaboration with the various City of Stockholm administrations and is due to be finalised before the summer of 2022.
Key events 2021:
- Four architectural offices competed to design the “Stadsljus” housing project in which 320 homes will be built on the site where Gasklocka 4 previously stood. Obos and the City of Stockholm will announce which architectural firm they will move forward with during 2022.
- A new playground has been completed on the hill nearby where Gasklocka 4 once stood. The playground has an ant theme with a climbing frame in the form of an anthill and ant-shaped rocking animals and sculptures.
- The pre-school Anna at Gasverket came second in the Stockholm Building of the Year competition. The building Bergsvåg with apartments and a pre-school in the Jackproppen neighbourhood was also nominated.
- Planning for housing, services and offices for the Hjorthagskransen phase began. The new buildings will help to connect the older and newer parts of the building area.
- The City of Stockholm started looking for a developer for the Valparaiso phase.
- Development work on a new structure for the Kolkajen phase continues.
- Places that are waiting for the next step in development were brought to life with a series of temporary activities. During the year, a temporary paddle facility was opened and next to the Kolkajen phase, work was started on a temporary park. In addition to plantings, the park will contain gravel surfaces and a ball games area and there will be the opportunity to grow plants in planting boxes. The ball games area can also be converted into a skating rink in winter. A container wall dampens noise created by work being conducted in Kolkajen.
Achievements for 1. Vibrant city
1.1 An equal city
52% of the apartments in Stockholm Royal Seaport are rental apartments and 48% are tenant-owned apartments. 8% of the rental apartments are student accommodation.
Apartment sizes vary as follows: 10% (one-room apartments), 33% (two-room), 29% (three-room), 23% (four-room), and 4% (five-rooms or more)
To date commercial space accounts for about 20%.
The land allocation competition in Kolkajen was about developing concepts for designing housing for a greater diversity of people and increasing the employment of people outside the labor market.
1.2 Active daily life
To date, we have built 1 elementary school, 10 pre-school, and 1 sports hall. According to the 2019 residents survey, residents are extremely or fairly satisfied with access to:
- pre-schools and schools 26%.
- culture activities 12%.
- supermarkets 64%.
- restaurants, cafés etc. 47%
- squares and meeting places 72%.
- sports and leisure activities 42%.
1.3 Create spaces that are attractive and safe all day, all year
The residents survey from 2019, showed that the proportion who feel safe in the area has decreased from 91% in 2016 to 79% in 2019, men and women's responses do not differ.
To date, 10 safety walks have been completed, none were completed in 2021.
16% of , which corresponds to 26m2 per dwelling. It is 11m2 green oases per resident.
The plot ratio for Stockholm Royal Seaport is 2,3 which is higher than the rest of Stockholm. Hammarby Sjöstad has a plot ratio of 1,7 while Hagastaden has a 7,2 if compared to other inner city projects.