One might say that the first Global Environmental Conference was not Rio+20 in 1992, but The United Nations Conference on The Human Environment (UNCHE), which took place in 1972 in Stockholm. Although some people may disagree with this affirmation, there is no doubt that the UNCHE, whose main goal was to reduce human impact on the environment, was the first attempt at making society aware of the potential negative consequences of our existing development model on our living and to preserve the environment for coming generations.
Since then, the city of Stockholm has focused on sustainable development alternatives and is still trying to maintain this reputation. Nowadays, according to the City of Stockholm, the Environment Program focuses on six key priorities:
1. Environmentally efficient transportation
2. Goods and buildings free of dangerous substances
3. Sustainable energy use
4. Sustainable use of land and water
5. Waste treatment with minimal environmental impact
6. A healthy indoor environment.
As a consequence of this effort, the city of Stockholm leads the world in sustainable neighborhoods and boasts one of Europe’s largest urban development projects: Stockholm Royal Seaport or “Royal Neighbour”.
Last May, the city of Stockholm disclosed the winners of a design competition for an urban development in the area of Stockholm’s Royal Seaport, formerly a gasworks area of about 236 hectares. ADEPT and the landscape studioMandaworks designed the winning project, and both have been working closely with the city to develop the master plan for an 18-hectare area known as Kolkagem-Ropsten.
There are plans to build more than 12,000 new properties, bringing 35,000 new jobs and a new cultural area to the site. Moreover, the designers have created three new neighborhoods, each with its own unique architectural character brought to life by several architecture studios, including Herzog & de Meuron and Tham & Videgård Arkitekter, making sure the surroundings have a considerable variety of typologies and aesthetics.
In March of this year, the design studio Tham & Videgård Arkitekter unveiled a plan to build four high-rise apartment blocks constructed from solid timber on an old harbor in Stockholm. The architects are planning to use only one material — Swedish pine — throughout the entire building structure.