Hammarby Sjöstad - one of the world’s most successful urban renewal districts

Description of the practice: 



The Hammarby Sjöstad (Eng: Hammarby Waterfront City) is an environmentally friendly neighborhood of 160 ha which previously served as an industrial waterfront. Hammarby Sjöstad is situated along the Hammarby Lake and located approximately 3 km south of the city center of Stockholm.

The initial planning of the site started in 1996 with the organization of the summer Olympics 2004 in mind. Since Stockholm lost the bid to Athens the site never prospered to become a part of an Olympic Village. However, the idea and inspiration of redeveloping the site remained. Today the former industrial site has been redeveloped into housing, commercial areas and recreational spaces. The expected number of residential units is 11,000. Hammarby Sjöstad is still under construction, the finishing constructions are expected to end in the end of 2018.

Responsible for the regeneration were over 30 different developers of which JM, Skanska, Family Housing, Swedish Housing, HSB, SKB and Borätt were the key developers. The planning and designing of Hammarby Sjöstad was facilitated by The City of Stockholm acquiring most of the land. The strategic masterplan was made in Stockholm City Planning Bureau and was led by architect Jan Inghe-Hagström.


The objective for Hammarby Sjöstad was to build a sustainable community that would be twice as efficient as a normal one. The objective regarding transport is that 80% of all the trips made from and to Hammarby Sjöstad by residents and people working in the area will be made by using public transport, walking or biking.


The masterplan was divided in 12 sub-neighborhoods. In order to design an architecturally diverse neighborhood, different architects and planners from the private sector were invited to design proposals for the sub-neighborhoods. All of the proposals are evaluated and the most suitable features are incorporated in the masterplan. The planning and design team of the City of Stockholm in partnership with the developers and architects then create a design code for the sub-neighborhoods. In order to proceed with planning permissions the design code is taken through the political process. To raise the bar and encourage a higher standard of architectural design a consortium of developers and architects are invited to plan plots and individual buildings within the sub-neighborhoods. The process has resulted in the high number of architects and developers involved.


Today Hammarby Sjöstad is well connected to Stockholm’s city center. There are several public transportation modes which one of the most notable efforts is the extension of the Tvärbanan tram line to Hammarby Sjöstad. One third of all the trips made by residents are done using the Tvärbanan tram line. There are also bus lines, cycle paths and a ferry line connecting Hammarby Sjöstad to the rest of the city.

As a result of the regeneration there are now 19 hectares of green areas in the neighborhood – all owned and maintained by the city of Stockholm. Hammarby Sjöstad is also recognized for having many innovative solutions incorporated in the urban planning, some of them are a centralized stationary vacuum system for recycling, a power plant generating energy from trash, solar water heating and a storm water remediation system. According to the prognosis Hammarby Sjöstad will be producing half of its energy needs by the time the constructions are finalized.


Image credits: Hammarby Sjöstad / Jonas Risén


Further description of the experiences: 

The environmental goals should have been incorporated earlier in the planning process and citizens should have been involved more intensively. There could also have been an evaluation system available from the very beginning of the process. The overall planning could have benefited from a more holistic planning approach.