On Monday April 6 MovingCities went scanning Stockholm’s suburbs. Based on advice from Stockholm-based architects Testbedstudio and Tham & Videgård Hansson Arkitekter, a fieldtrip to the Vällingby and Rinkeby newtowns was undertaken. Using knowledge and experienced from last February’s the Crimson NewTown Research.
In the Sweden of the 1950s, urban planning was mainly targeted to the development of human scale neighbourhoods and centres. These were planned with the intention of creating pleasant environments that would foster democracy and culture. When it opened in 1954, the municipal centre of Vällingby in Stockholm received much praise for its unique architecture and contemporary social planning and soon became world famous as a unique, well-planned city district served by the underground metro and a symbol of the Swedish middle-way Welfare state.
Few places in Sweden are so closely associated with the Swedish Model and some of its originators as the district Vällingby. The city plan for the area was made in 1947-1950 under the management of Architect Sven Markelius. The idea was to make a city district that wasn’t just a place to sleep, but a so called “ABC-city” with workplaces, houses and a centre in the same area. (ABC, Arbete, Bostad, Centrum means work, living, centre). When Vällingby was built in the mid-fifties, Markelius took his inspiration from the best work to be found internationally in terms of town architecture. The result was an ideal city.
Since then numerous other satellite centres have been added such as Kista, Akalla, Tensta, Rinkeby, Skärholmen and so on. The centres are strung together like pearls on a bead along the railway system (tunnelbana) and are all of a high density, particularly around the station core. All these sub-centers show the characteristics of urban villages, though some are predominantly residential while others are highly mixed centres. Since 2003, the entire centre of Vällingby has been going through a renewal process that encompasses both preservation and development.
One addition to the existing architecture was a Floating Roof, above Vällingby Centre, while the public housing corporation Svenska Bostäder has initiated an £200M renewal project, which will include new housing, offices, shops and car parking for the municipal centre.
A short drive with the bus brought us from Vällingby to Rinkeby. Rinkeby is the Stockholm suburb with least Swedes and noted for its high concentration of immigrants and people with immigrant ancestry. 89.1% of the population of Rinkeby has a first- or second-generation immigrant background as of 31 December, 2007. Although largely mono-functional in its appearance, Rinkeby has an appealing post-European-social-suburban charm that thrives on the convenient accessibility to a large metropolitan transport network and the flourishing of small local and ethnic economies and communities. One reason is that Rinkeby presents an intriguing mix of being pedestrian friendly, multi-layered organization of traffic and people, ethnically highly diverse and high and low-rise housing blocks.
Pictures by movingcities.org