2021-10-26 07:37Blog post

Building a sustainable future in Stockholm’s new ‘innovation district’

Photo: www.sthlmnew.comPhoto: www.sthlmnew.com

Stockholm is bursting at the seams. The City’s swelling population is desperately vying for apartments, while its many startups and unicorns compete for the coolest, most central office spaces.

This mounting demand has been met by a major construction boom. For years now, Stockholm has been in the midst of expansive building work as the City both densifies and expands.

Developments in the south-east of the City - an up-and-coming area dubbed Stockholm Green Innovation District - have been attracting particular attention. Old industrial areas are being transformed into sustainable new neighbourhoods with a focus on innovation, food, and culture - all within a stone’s throw of each other.

“The goal is that Stockholm will be fossil-free and climate-positive by 2040,” says Anna Gissler, CEO of Invest Stockholm. “To get there, the City has a Climate Action Plan 2020-2030. To reach the goal we need to collaborate within trade, industry and academia to lead the way and be a global role model. Stockholm Green Innovation District is an important part when it comes to collaboration and creating a testbed.”

Strengthening Stockholm’s first eco-district

Since its metamorphosis in the late 1990s, Hammarby Sjöstad - once an industrial wasteland - has been hailed as a blueprint for sustainable city development. Now Swedish construction giant Skanska is taking the Hammarby model and developing it even further.

Sthlm New in the west of Hammarby Sjöstad will consist of seven new buildings, four of which are complete with construction underway on the remaining three. The modern office spaces, which include landmark skyscraper Sthlm 01, are reaching new heights of sustainable construction and laying the foundations for the eco-friendly buildings of the future.

“Hammarby Sjöstad is close to the city and has, and will get, even better public transport solutions. A new subway station will open up right in the middle of our development area, so that’s key for sustainable development,” says Fredrik Lantz, Skanska’s head of leasing.

Skanska is a leader in sustainable construction and certifies all its buildings in accordance with LEED certification, a globally-recognised green building rating system. The company has a minimum certificate level of LEED Gold but aims for LEED Platinum which is the highest standard of sustainable certificate in that system. 

No effort has been spared in the pursuit of Platinum certification for Sthlm New. Amongst other initiatives, the buildings have been constructed with sustainable materials and biofuel is used to power the machines. District heating and cooling - as well as renewable electricity from a solar cell park - will ensure the buildings remain on a sustainable path once construction is complete.

Social sustainability hasn’t been overlooked either. Systems for flexible parking spaces will fuel a sharing economy, and a new stairway connects the Sthlm New area to nearby Gullmarsplan to encourage pedestrian traffic. Local artists and schoolchildren have been invited to beautify the new buildings and infrastructure to create an atmosphere that appeals to the City’s creative workforces.

“We try to create buildings that people want to look at,” says Fredrik. “We decorate them with street art and work with professional artists as well as school students who do art projects on bike garages and so on. It’s all about creating a place where people feel both inspired by their surroundings and keen to become part of this exciting locality.”

Slakthusområdet: where culture, cuisine, and creativity meet

Meat-packing districts have become synonymous with cool the world over. From New York to Copenhagen, slaughterhouses and factories have been reborn as hip haunts and trendy office spaces. Now Stockholm is revamping its own meat-packing district, Slakthusområdet, to reflect the City’s strong profile in food, music, culture, and innovation.

Several years back, property developer Atrium Ljungberg purchased approximately 30 percent of Slakthusområdet. Included within that roughly 200,000 square meters was a mixture of heritage buildings and new building opportunities which the developer plans to transform into venues, office spaces, and residential properties. 

“Stockholm is growing and has been for a long time, but there hasn’t been a district dedicated to the meeting between culture, the creative industries and the tech industries, that is also liveable,” says Atrium Ljungberg’s Linus Kjellberg. “We can really ask ourselves some key questions about what Stockholm will need in the future.”

The area will highlight Stockholm’s background in music production, and set the stage for a vibrant new arts quarter. With the nearby Tele2 and Avicii arenas, it will be possible to organise concerts for 50,000 people or 50 people - all within a five minute walk. It’s advantages such as these that led leading events promoter FKP Scorpio to establish in Slakthusområdet in summer 2020.

Music, culture, and cuisine often go hand-in-hand, and Slakthusområdet’s eponymous food heritage will also be preserved. The area will become a testbed for future city life with multiple actors cooperating on sustainability projects that address tomorrow’s urban issues. Odlarcentret, a project run in collaboration with Atrium Ljungberg, Stockholm Exergi, and Invest Stockholm, is one such example.

“An issue for cities in the future is how they will get enough food for inhabitants in a sustainable way. One answer is urban hydroponic farming, of which this is an example. You could grow what you need to make your own beer, or grow your own spices. You can farm your own salad which can be used in the restaurants in the area. We’re creating a habitat for everything in that area, more or less.”

Future residents haven’t been overlooked in the plans for this lively new part of the City. Attention has been paid to the layout of the neighbourhood to minimise conflict and ensure those who dwell in the area aren’t disturbed by the venues.

“We want to make the vibrant culture an advantage and reason for living in Slakthusområdet instead of them feeling regretful that the area is too loud and busy.”

Sickla: blending city life and Swedish nature

The abundance of nature within the City is a quality beloved by Stockholmers, and in few places is this better illustrated than Sickla. Under a five minute walk from Hammarby Sjöstad, Sickla straddles the border of the inner city and lies within a short cycling distance of both Nacka nature reserve and urban ski slope Hammarbybacken.

Atrium Ljungberg has been developing commercial properties in Sickla for over two decades. With its blend of new builds and old industrial buildings, the area aptly reflects its long history of innovation. And with its close proximity to nature, it strikes the perfect balance for city dwellers fond of outdoor recreation.

“It’s a new city district which is about the size of Stockholm’s Old Town, to give some reference of the size,” explains Atrium Ljungberg’s Linus Kjellberg. “Here we can make a big impact on the Stockholm area in total. There’s already a lot of infrastructure here with the tram and also the new subway coming later this decade which will make it a seven-minute journey to T-Centralen.”

Atrium Ljungberg’s attention is just now focused on the western part of the area, a new neighbourhood within Sickla which will include a dense mix of restaurants, office spaces, educational facilities, and 500 new homes. Curanten, a centre focusing on health and wellbeing is now open for business while a new hotel, Clarion Collection Tapetfabriken, opened its doors earlier this year. Panncentralen - an iconic boiler factory - has been converted into a preschool while Formalinfabriken, once a glue factory, is now a community kitchen for local residents.

“Sickla is designed with the intention of making it liveable in the sense of living a smooth life. There’s a lot of talk about the 15-minute city at the moment, where you can live, work, play, go to school, etc. all within 15 minutes on your bike. Sickla is a five-minute city within the City!”

The developing areas will play a pivotal role in Stockholm’s future, says Anna Gissler, and pave the way for sustainable and successful city living in a post-pandemic world.

“We’ve seen during the pandemic that people are not moving around as much, you live your life more locally and that’s part of the continuing vision for the district. Our aim is that Stockholm will be an impact capital where new, sustainable innovations will be developed. Stockholm Green Innovation District is a big part of that.”


About Invest Stockholm

Invest Stockholm is the official investment promotion agency of Stockholm. We work with the marketing and development of the Stockholm region as a business destination under the brand Stockholm – The Capital of Scandinavia. Invest Stockholm is a subsidiary of Stockholm Business Region, owned by the city of Stockholm.