The Glass House by the Sea

Each of us is carving a stone, erecting a column, or cutting a piece of stained glass in the construction of something much bigger than ourselves.
– Adrienne Louise Clarkson, Canadian Stateswoman


Hammarby sjöstad (Hammarby Lake City) is an urban development directly south of Stockholm’s South Island. It is no doubt the most referenced and visited spot among Scandinavian examples of implemented eco-friendly urban developments and there are about 10,000 visitors per year from all over the world.

The original plan of Hammarby was to develop the former industrial area to an ecological sports arena and athlete’s village – the aspiration was to develop this area for the Olympics 2004. When the bid was won by Athens the plans were changed and instead the Stockholm municipality, together with a number of architecture and construction companies, decided to make this the first eco city district in Stockholm for the new millennium.

One new feature of the eco-district, which has won international recognition, was to integrate several infrasystems in the planning from the very beginning: technical infrastructure, mobility and communication infrastructure, building infrastructure and to some extent green-blue infrastructure. Another strong feature is the system of interdisciplinary planning of physical flows of energy, water and waste. The Hammarby model is today an inspiration for developments around the world.


Yesterday I visited Hammarby Sjöstad with a delegation from Nairobi, Kenya and we had the pleasure to meet and hear a presentation by Erik Freudenthal in the districts information centre, Glass House One. Freudenthal has been touring Europe, Asia, Africa and Northern America over the last years lecturing about the environmental achievements of Stockholm and how other cities can create a more sustainable environment for its citizens to live. His lecture tells the story how Hammarby Sjöstad, a polluted run-down old industrial district in Stockholm, with grave pollution problems, was transformed into a sustainable, eco-friendly residential area. Below is a video I made with the first 15 minutes of his presentation.

Erik Freudenthal introducing Hammarby Sjöstad


Here is the presentation which is shown in the video:

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