The link between sustainability and lifestyle is embedded within every aspect of the project; a common objective that binds the community together. A large part of Hammarby Sjöstad’s success is Sweden’s general political commitment to social equality, environmentalism, and a consensual approach to issues such as planning and transport provision at a local level. The land was mostly city-owned, which allowed for relatively easy integration of public transport, power and water during the planning stage. Client and design teams stood in solidarity with private sector developers and contractors, who all pledged to uphold the overall quality aspirations.
Economic crises, population growth, climate change, resource depletion, and an emerging obesity epidemic are all changing the conditions for human development. Can the way we plan and design our cities help to solve these challenges? We think so.Monica von Schmalensee, Architect
Closing the energy, waste and water loops
In addition to compact buildings, high insulation standards and contributions from solar power, a key environmental strategy is the centralised production of district heating and cooling. Heat is extracted from treated wastewater in the Hammarby plant by heat pumps; the side-effects of this process then feed into the district cooling network Heating water is delivered to all the buildings in the same way as gas, electricity or domestic water, creating an extremely energy efficient basic solution. Much of the domestic waste is used for the generation of energy. A three-tube recycling system for organic, combustible and paper waste is located outside the entrance to each building; rubbish proceeds to be sucked out by vacuum to a centralised recycling depot.
It was crucial for Hammarby Sjöstad to not only be a place where people wanted to stay, but a place that got people moving and socialising, while decreasing the dependency on cars and connecting residents to nature. While site densities have been concentrated, every element of open space has been designed around people. All apartments have balconies, all buildings have lifts, streets are wide and landscaped, with semi-private areas that contain ample green space for bringing up families and mingling with neighbours. Commercial and retail units are present at the ground floor of many apartment blocks, as mixed-use buildings make for vibrant, mixed communities. Transportation is a heavy burden on dense city districts, but the integrated planning of light rail, a free ferry and carpool initiative has ensured that almost 80% of journeys are by public transport, foot or bicycle.
An avenue links Hammarby Sjöstad’s new public green spaces throughout the south of the district, forming offshoots of green corridors in its passage. The parks south of the lake are all linked to Nacka Nature Reserve and Årsta forest to form green wedges into the heart of the plan, while planted viaducts stretch over the Södra Länken highway. New parks in the north connect with the parks of Vitaberg and Stora Blecktornet, offering all residents unfettered access into nature.
White adopted a prominent role in the making of Hammarby Sjöstad since the beginning. From participation in the planning process, key contributions came in the form of masterplanning ten neighbourhoods, designing award-winning mixed-use buildings in the Holmen and Lugnvattnet neighbourhoods, as well as providing environmental design coordination for Sickla Udde’s Farvattnet quarter, Forsen in Hammarby Gård, Snickeriet in Sjöstadsporten, and the northern community of Persikan. In collaboration with the city council, White also produced the materials guidelines for the overall environmental programme. Much of White’s leading position in environmental and sustainability issues stem from the research, experimentation and innovation that was allowed through the Hammarby Sjöstad commissions.