Welcome to the Centre Blog Pre-Launch – and an attractive Stockholm

Whilst we work on new material for the Centre for a Sustainable Built Environment blog, we want to use the blog to share some of the short films we’ve already captured of KTH researchers talking about their pioneering work with sustainability in cities.

Over the next few weeks we’ll share four films from an event hosted last year. The event focused on the development of Stockholm but the issues raised – open planning processes, attractive collective transport and inclusive design are applicable beyond the Swedish capital.  The films are in Swedish for now – but a summary in English is provided below.

The first film captures KTH researchers in urban and regional studies, Amy Rader Olsson and Tigran Haas talking about their approaches to making cities sustainable, especially in social terms, through advocating for more open approaches to urban planning and design.

The City of Stockholm put forward a vision for 2030 called “The Attractive City” (go here for the Swedish version). The word attractive plays on the beauty of Stockholm, which its citizens want to maintain, and the fact that Stockholm is a rapidly expanding city, attracting people from all over Sweden as well as beyond. How does the city grow whilst maintaining the characteristics that make it a great place to live?

Amy helps us remember that this is not the first time that Stockholm has faced such a challenge and argues that this perpetual dynamic should be seen in a positive light. Indeed, when cities are placed under a moderate amount of stress, provided they also have access to moderate resources, they tend to thrive. She suggests that urban planners should encourage citizens to be playful in their approach to developing the city, focusing on setting “the rules of the game” and leaving considerable freedom for people to create their own city.

Tigran draws our attention to three fields of research activity being undertaken in the KTH School of Architecture and the Built Environment. The first field looks at how new rules or guidelines can be established for planning and financing housing and infrastructure. It has led to a book “Nya regler för ökat bostadsbyggande och bättre infrastruktur”  (New Rules for increasing house building and better infrastructure in English) by KTH researchers Göran Cars, Hans Lind and Thomas Kalbro. The second field considers how we build and renovate buildings so they are sustainable in environmental, economic and social terms. Further information about this research strand can be found on the Centre website here.  The third field, and Tigran’s own passion, focuses on “the city as a living room” considering how they city can be planned to be an enabler of life.