There are other eco cities much talked about at the moment Masdar city or Dongtan to name a couple off the top of my head but Hammarby Sjöstad, a redevelopment in Stockholm Sweden is not one of them. It started out as a redevelopment of an old, barely legal, and much contaminated industrial area, part of Stockholm’s 2004 Olympic bid and meant as a sustainable athletes village. They lost the Olympics to Athens but development of Hammarby continued and now it has become a model for other ecological developments over the world. I visited it a few weeks ago and was really impressed. Whereas Dongtan exists only on blogs and in the dreams of paddy fields, Hammarsby is very real. Whereas Masdar city pasted between golf clubs, and an International Airport is a future city in the making, it isn’t about sustainable living now so much as attracting development and business opportunities. Hammarby is about changing the city that you see when you look outside the window now.
The basic framework behind the development is the so called Hammarby Model that can be seen in the image above. Simplified a bit you could think of it like three interconnected rings representing waste, water and energy. Unlike with standard services in a normal city, in which these rings are separate, in Hammarby these resources are used to support each other. Thus combustible waste from the area is incinerated to produce both electricity and district heating. Treated waste water is fed back into the district heating system too before being returned to the sea. Waste energy from one process is utilised in another and thus waste is minimised.
Solar power and grass roofs are being used in a few buildings too but it’s not a development covered in them. It’s about using appropriate technologies and solutions to minimise consumption as well as provide more environmentally friendly services. Thus the Architecture is mostly nothing that special, or different from a standard Scandinavian development. In fact I think one of the best things to take away from Hammarby is that the modern housing blocks that predominate in Sweden and Finland don’t need to change much to be a lot more ecological.
Lessons learnt are being fed back to the last phase of Hammarby and in other developments in Sweden. It’s a set of solutions to sustainable living which have been built in a way that they can be added to and expanded over time. There are no fancy tricks like Masdar’s bubble cars that you can’t yet change the destination of during your journey on route or overarching management systems like the unbuilt Dongtan or PlanIT that know when you put a drink can in the park rubbish bin.
Overall impact water, energy consumption etc. 50% less than standards of the time.
Land usage: redeveloped on old industrial site.
Energy: renewable fuels, biogas products and reuse of waste heat coupled with efficient energy consumption in buildings.
Water & sewage: new technology for water saving and sewage treatment.
Waste: special built system, with material and energy recycling.
Transportation: Public transport, car pools and cycle paths, in order to reduce private car usage. When Hammarby was built it was expected that ecologically friendly families would move in but in fact many typical 2 car families moved in also. Pressure for more car parking has resulted in an increase of private car provision but still Hammarby overall has basically fulfilled it’s aim for its resident’s to commute using public transport at an 80 percent rate.
Building materials: Environmentally as sound as possible.
My Hammerby photos on flickr. They are not great it was a really rainy dull day.