History and Background

It all started with the urban planning project of Hammarby Sjöstad or Hammarby Sjöstad 1.0 as we like to call it.
Here You find some of the plans, thoughts and processes that preceded our work with Hammarby Sjöstad 2.0.

The story in brief

Throughout the years, cities have more or less successfully adapted strategies to develop sustainable urban neighbourhoods. Hammarby Sjöstad was one of the first urban projects that took the concept of sustainable development to a new level, closing the environmental loops and developing synergies between utilities, buildings and users.

The still ongoing redevelopment project for Hammarby Sjöstad—meaning ‘City on Hammarby Lake’ in Swedish—is set on a former industrial and harbor brownfield area. Compared to nearby areas, Hammarby shows today, among other things higher density, higher real estate prizes, fewer cars, higher levels of income and lower environmental footprint.

A series of case studies showing “best practice examples” was conducted by the World Bank in 2010:

“Stockholm is at the vanguard of green urban policymaking on an international level, as shown by it winning the European Commission’s first Green Capital of Europe award in 2010 and by the constant stream of global visitors the city attracts to its sites of ‘sustainable urbanism’” (Rutherford, 2013).

This website is based on a case study providing a comprehensive look at the sustainable urban development process of Hammarby Sjöstad. It is part of China Development Bank Capital’s Green and Smart Urban Development Guidelines. The study is organized around twelve of the Green Guidelines and expands on the goals, processes, and mechanisms that made Hammarby Sjöstad a sustainable and economically prosperous urban development.

For a brief introduction, see the Executive summary…

The Development Process

“The total expenditure of the project paid from the city is about 500 million Euros. The total volume with the developers is about 3000 million Euros (2500 million Euros from the developers) for the whole area which means that the developers in the end take the greatest risks. But still we think this is the most profitable way for the city [to develop] when we get more taxpayers and at the same time the city is growing.”

– Lars Fränne, Head of Planning, Stockholm City


This section describes and provides insight into the entire development process for Hammarby.

  1. The first section looks at the roles and responsibilities of the national, regional, and municipal governments in the planning process and how each level of government contributed to the sustainability goals.
  2. We provide a high-level overview of the planning process in general, outlining the standard procedure.
  3. We look at the specific master planning and land development process for Hammarby. This section will look at how the Project Team managed the planning and land development process while also presenting the key lessons for land development.
  4. This section looks at property development and how developers were involved in the process.
  5. Finally, we present the design guidelines that developers and architects had to follow for Hammarby. This will provide insight into how well-set constraints can breed creativity and innovation.

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Financing a New City

This section looks at how the City financed the land development and the ways that land was sold to developers for property development. The section presents two business models for ownership of infrastructure in Hammarby Sjöstad followed by sections that explain the funding mechanisms, the financing for implementation as well as the operation of the infrastructure solutions, and finally the mechanisms for land allocation.

“Hammarby Sjöstad is a good example of not only focusing on the short term aspects and getting short term profits but also investing for the future and increasing revenue The cost for Hammarby was roughly 5 percent higher from a purely construction cost perspective but in the end you get back roughly 25 percent more property value out on the site over time which shows how real value is created over time.”

– Henrik Svanqvist, Director of Communities, Skanska

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Key Achievements

Through the Hammarby Model and the environmental goals, Hammarby’surban development process was also able to capitalize on a number of synergies that existed between its various goals. Below are a few examples of where the items in the 12 Green Guidelines have positive interactions:

  1. Mixed-use and transit-oriented development has reduced the need for private cars, which increases use of public transit and non-motorized transit.
  2. Water efficiency measures such as storm water management reduced pressure on piping and pump systems; the smaller pipe dimensions also reduces the cost of ‘hard’ infrastructure. The low impact design of the storm water management system also led to attractive public green spaces.
  3. The HammarbyModel’s closed loop system allows water, waste, and energy to feed into each other. This reduces the amount of energy and resources needed to maintain the system.
  4. The smaller blocks that make up Hammarby made it easier to lay down the piping for the waste-to-energy and waste recycling network.

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Lessons learned

The most important lessons of Hammarby Sjöstad are:

Sustainable urban development requires a holistic approach and the 12 Green Guidelines offer the ingredients for this approach.
Prioritize densifying areas that are adjacent to the city, even if these are brownfields.
Various departments from the government, private sector, and academia must all be deeply involved in the planning process.
A variety of channels (design and financial) must be used to change behaviors and mindsets:
Life-cycle assessments can reveal the true value of high environmentaldesign standards.

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