Artikel - Adapteo

It's important to think circularly – everything we build won't be there forever

There is currently an intensive urban development in Solna, north of Stockholm’s inner city. The municipality will be built together with the City of Stockholm via the new district Hagastaden. Adapteo has interviewed Solna City’s Planning and Geodata Manager Alexander Fagerlund, who shared his thoughts on the densification of cities, the sustainability challenges of the construction and real estate industry and flexible urban planning.

As planning and geodata manager in Solna city, Alexander Fagerlund leads the municipality’s planning architects to develop detailed items for urban development.

What is the vision for urban development in Solna?

The overall focus is to build the city together and make it more vibrant. In addition, we want to meet the demand for housing and workplaces and do so in a sustainable, economically, socially, and environmentally way.

What are key factors for people to thrive in future buildings, when cities are densified as Solna does now?

I think people who live in a built-up area do it primarily for accessibility for good service, so it’s essential. But, on the other hand, the car should also not feel over-prioritized and take up too much space from pedestrians and cyclists. If you look at Stockholm’s inner city, it is easy to understand – the streets that are most attractive to move along some pedestrians and stop at and, for example, sit on an outdoor terrace, are rarely the busiest streets.

Alexander Fagerlund also highlights the importance of proximity to green areas and the opportunity to practice physical activity:

There must also be good access to recreation. In Solna, Hagaparken plays a significant role, but it is also important to have smaller local parks. Another important thing is that there should be opportunities for children to practice sports. To densify a city is to put a fermented puzzle.

Can you give an example of a project that you think represents the vision to build Solna together and make the city more vibrant?

Today, there are a lot of traffic routes in Solna because that’s what the ideal looked like when the city was built in the 50s and 60s. But we don’t want the streets just to be transport routes, they should be nice to walk on. The best example of how we work with it is Solnavägen between Frösundaleden and Karolinska Hospital. It has been a flat motor trail but ska becomes a nice city street that you want to walk and cycle on. To achieve this, we reduce traffic speed and build areas along the road with housing, operations and services.

Flexibility and sustainability in future urban development


To be flexible, with buildings that can easily change function, scaled up and down, moved and reused, is a way to meet the changing and unpredictable needs of the future. A newly released report by Adapteo and BSK Arkitekter proposes that municipalities should allocate about 10-20 per cent of the complete detailed plan to flexible solutions. Buildings should be able to go from function as, for example, preschool to older people’s homes, and a parking space should be able to become a schoolyard and vice versa.

What role do you see flexibility in future urban development?

Theoretically, it sounds fantastic with many flexible solutions in a city, there is no intrinsic value in saying “this should be a preschool forever”. Perhaps flexibility should be focused on community properties so that activities can shift between nursing homes and preschools.

According to the government’s goal, the construction and real estate sector accounts for one-fifth of Sweden’s emissions and will be climate neutral by 2045. What would you say are the industry’s biggest challenges in getting there?

My opinion is that there has been a lot of focus on reducing energy use in the operation of the building. But a large majority of emissions are about the production of the material, the construction of the buildings and transport to and from them. We need to get away from fossil fuels and get a climate-neutral production. When it comes to transportation, I don’t think electric cars are the whole solution, they take up as much space from pedestrians and cyclists as other cars. We need to change the way we move and create solutions to encourage walking, cycling and public transport.

One of the high-profile projects in Solna’s ongoing urban development is Cederhusen, built-in Hagastaden. It is Sweden’s largest wooden house block and is marketed as a sustainable alternative precisely because of the choice of materials in wood. We also see a resurgence for wooden houses, not infrequently arguing that concrete and steel produce more significant carbon dioxide emissions.

What do you think about the choice of materials in urban planning?

I think you should build in the material that has an as little climate impact as possible.  From what I know, wood is the best. The fact that concrete is terrible for the environment is about the high carbon dioxide emissions and interference in nature. Once you have removed the lime, it will not come back. Although forest felling must be careful, forests can be replanted and grow back. If you build in concrete, it is also much more difficult to reuse the material if you need to rebuild. We must think circularly – everything we make will not be there forever.

Alexander Fagerlund concludes with a positive view of the climate impact of future urban development:

It’s interesting that more materials are becoming climate neutral now. Soon there will also be demands to show how much climate footprint a building makes. The fact that we’re on our way there is great.

What is the vision for urban development in Solna?

The overall focus is to build the city together and make it more vibrant. In addition, we want to meet the demand for housing and workplaces and do so in a sustainable, economically, socially, and environmentally way.

What are key factors for people to thrive in future buildings, when cities are densified as Solna does now?

I think people who live in a built-up area do it primarily for accessibility for good service, so it’s essential. But, on the other hand, the car should also not feel over-prioritized and take up too much space from pedestrians and cyclists. If you look at Stockholm’s inner city, it is easy to understand – the streets that are most attractive to move along some pedestrians and stop at and, for example, sit on an outdoor terrace, are rarely the busiest streets.

Alexander Fagerlund also highlights the importance of proximity to green areas and the opportunity to practice physical activity:

There must also be good access to recreation. In Solna, Hagaparken plays a significant role, but it is also important to have smaller local parks. Another important thing is that there should be opportunities for children to practice sports. To densify a city is to put a fermented puzzle.

Can you give an example of a project that you think represents the vision to build Solna together and make the city more vibrant?

Today, there are a lot of traffic routes in Solna because that’s what the ideal looked like when the city was built in the 50s and 60s. But we don’t want the streets just to be transport routes, they should be nice to walk on. The best example of how we work with it is Solnavägen between Frösundaleden and Karolinska Hospital. It has been a flat motor trail but ska becomes a nice city street that you want to walk and cycle on. To achieve this, we reduce traffic speed and build areas along the road with housing, operations and services.

 

Flexibility and sustainability in future urban development

To be flexible, with buildings that can easily change function, scaled up and down, moved and reused, is a way to meet the changing and unpredictable needs of the future. A newly released report by Adapteo and BSK Arkitekter proposes that municipalities should allocate about 10-20 per cent of the complete detailed plan to flexible solutions. Buildings should be able to go from function as, for example, preschool to older people’s homes, and a parking space should be able to become a schoolyard and vice versa.

What role do you see flexibility in future urban development?

Theoretically, it sounds fantastic with many flexible solutions in a city, there is no intrinsic value in saying “this should be a preschool forever”. Perhaps flexibility should be focused on community properties so that activities can shift between nursing homes and preschools.

According to the government’s goal, the construction and real estate sector accounts for one-fifth of Sweden’s emissions and will be climate neutral by 2045. What would you say are the industry’s biggest challenges in getting there?

My opinion is that there has been a lot of focus on reducing energy use in the operation of the building. But a large majority of emissions are about the production of the material, the construction of the buildings and transport to and from them. We need to get away from fossil fuels and get a climate-neutral production. When it comes to transportation, I don’t think electric cars are the whole solution, they take up as much space from pedestrians and cyclists as other cars. We need to change the way we move and create solutions to encourage walking, cycling and public transport.

One of the high-profile projects in Solna’s ongoing urban development is Cederhusen, built-in Hagastaden. It is Sweden’s largest wooden house block and is marketed as a sustainable alternative precisely because of the choice of materials in wood. We also see a resurgence for wooden houses, not infrequently arguing that concrete and steel produce more significant carbon dioxide emissions.

What do you think about the choice of materials in urban planning?

I think you should build in the material that has an as little climate impact as possible.  From what I know, wood is the best. The fact that concrete is terrible for the environment is about the high carbon dioxide emissions and interference in nature. Once you have removed the lime, it will not come back. Although forest felling must be careful, forests can be replanted and grow back. If you build in concrete, it is also much more difficult to reuse the material if you need to rebuild. We must think circularly – everything we make will not be there forever.

Alexander Fagerlund concludes with a positive view of the climate impact of future urban development:

– It’s interesting that more materials are becoming climate neutral now. Soon there will also be demands to show how much climate footprint a building makes. The fact that we’re on our way there is great.

We gladly tell you more!

Do you want to talk to a salesperson or find out more about how we can build flexibly together? We want to work with you to find the right solution for your specific wishes.

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