The area of Hammarby Sjöstad has a long history of sustainable urban development. Reinvented as a sustainable best practice in Stockholm in the 1990’s, it was long acknowledged as the best example of promoting sustainable waste and heat management. The Hammarby Model (Swedish: Hammarbymodellen), the fundamental concept for planning the area through eco-governance (reduction and re-usage of energy, water and waste), is considered a promising component for Swedish service export. However, during recent years, a local self-image of having reached far enough has been challenged due to increased demands and higher sustainability goals. Calls for scaling up innovative sustainable efforts led to ElectriCITY (EC) being founded as an economic association in 2014 by Allan Larsson, an experienced driving individual in several sustainable urban development processes, and other individuals living in Hammarby Sjöstad. The initial purpose was to promote sustainable energy use by organising citizens through the many local housing associations, constituting approximately half the local population. EC became a partner to Sjöstadsföreningen, umbrella organisation for 50+ housing associations in Hammarby Sjöstad. Subsequently, EC was established as a collaboration platform for innovation between companies, research and civil organisations. Hammarby Sjöstad 2.0 was launched by EC as a process of improving local conditions for sustainable living and system transformation through eco-governance and collaboration across sectors, with high environmental requirements as those of other urban development projects. The overarching ambitions are system transformations in energy, mobility and circular economy, realised through a diverse number of projects, including the testing of a sharing economy, efficient energy and transport management and more sophisticated clean technology innovation. As Stockholm has committed to reaching the Paris agreement’s 2050 goals already by 2040, EC has committed to locally exceed these requirements in Hammarby Sjöstad as a frontrunner example, reaching the Paris goals already by 2030.
Good practices & solutions
Trough strategic partnership, EC, Sjöstadsföreningen and the housing associations have been able to attract some 40 different actors from industry, public administration, invest companies, technology innovation and research. Since the 1990s, the main approach for Hammarby Sjöstad is to conduct mission-driven innovation, in which clear objectives, time plans and a joint effort are being fostered. The innovation process is thus rendered more substantial and powerful. This fundamental strategy is being refined and developed further within EC. The mission-driven approach serves as a structure or framework for enabling sustainable co-creation, as it drives processes into selecting relevant participants from concerned sectors, then working towards various specific goals on a systemic level with the overarching objective of a climate neutral area in 2030. The many sub-projects then co-create according to their own prerequisites and objectives. EC functions as a platform, testbed and urban living lab for testing of a wide range of sustainable solutions, with individuals working and living in the area as everyday users. The solutions are developed, provided, tested and/or evaluated by actors from academia, civil society, public administration and the private sector in collaboration with the housing associations of Sjöstadsföreningen. EC thus functions as a matchmaking actor, distributing relevant actors to the associations, and a co-funder of activities initiated within the process of Hammarby Sjöstad 2.0.
Outcome & opportunities
“What we do is not that … innovative, it is common sense … obviously, [this is] how things should be done. But there is, like, nobody who thinks about that.”
EC encompasses a quite exceptionally large spectrum of activities and projects, all of which share a fundamental ambition of improving quality of life for local residents while securing a sustainable future. Main focus areas are energy, mobility and digital infrastructure, with a selection of activities and initiatives listed below.
System transformation in energy
– Mapping of energy use has been a fundamental component for raising local awareness. The Stockholm Environmental Department (Miljöförvaltningen) contributed this mapping to EC in its initial stage.
– Energy at Home (Swedish: Energi hemma); an initiative co-funded by Naturvårdsverket for increasing energy efficiency and promote better investments in private homes and associations through knowledge, idea exchange and inspiration.
– Solar panels testbed
– Downhole heat exchanger in about 20 housing associations
– Climate steering for decreased power requirement
– Strategic partnerships for increased investments
– Urban living lab for future energy systems
– E2B2; a project platform conducting big data analysis for energy efficiency and a virtual forum for knowledge exchange between housing associations.
– Matchmaking between cleantech companies and international stakeholders.
System transformation in mobility
– Charging electric cars at home (Swedish: Ladda hemma); an initiative co-funded by Naturvårdsverket for increasing the density of charging stations for electric cars with the goal of keeping 1000 active stations in local garages by 2020.
– Electric car pools at home
– Policy lab for accelerating electrified traffic (initiative with Energiforsk)
– All taxis electrified by 2025; residents in housing associations in Hammarby Sjöstad are invited to support Taxi Stockholm’s transformation to electric vehicles by only ordering electric taxis.
– Bussplan Stockholm; together with ABB, InfraNode, Siemens, Volvo, Scania and Vattenfall, EC works to promote electric buses in all of Stockholm County. It has now been scaled up on a national level as Bussplan Sverige with Energiforsk as project managing actor.
– Digital meeting room; instead of flying to attend meetings, e-limousines pick up and drop off attendants to meetings that are held in Hammarby Sjöstad with high resolution technology and high performance bandwidth. Thus, attendants save time and experience improved quality of life while abstaining from unsustainable travel.
– Framework agreements; instead of each housing association purchasing its own particular basic services (such as heating and facility management), all housing associations join together to purchase a particular service from the same supplier. This creates leverage for issuing demands of more sustainable procedures.
– Coordinated sustainable transports; about 15 housing associations are coordinating deliveries to reduce the number of transports, while promoting transformation to renewable vehicle energy.
– Strategic partnering; 13 housing associations jointly demand a service from a supplier while the supplier states their required profit. As far as both demands are met, other costs are shared within a common project of service delivery.
Snyggt & Tryggt (Nice and Safe)
An initiative for local safety measures, among others involving Nattvandrarna (voluntary night-walking groups).
A sharing economy testbed.
EC is also a partner in, among others, sustainable urban innovation programme Viable Cities founded in 2017.
As a large portion of the Stockholm region’s housing stock currently consists of housing associations 2 , the EC model for local commitment has potential for expanding to other parts of the city (Reimersholme, Gamla stan) and other cities (Trollhättan, Jönköping). Although seldom being as organised as Sjöstadsföreningen, housing associations have a good starting point for expanded collaboration in many areas. In any case, the solutions being tested are generalisable and often considered for export. Thus, if successful outcomes from EC were to spread on a larger scale, it
could have massive implications for the realisation of Agenda 2030 (for example regarding energy efficiency and carbon emission reduction) in and outside of Sweden.
Lessons learned & recommendations
The key to driving sustainable development has in the case of Hammarby Sjöstad been to organise oneself into larger contexts. The overarching mission driving the innovation process, i.e. the clear and highly ambitious environmental goals exceeding those of the City of Stockholm, has contributed substantially to results and the innovation process.
Housing associations are characterised by low commitment and a tranquil trust in the free market. Generally, holding a association board’s position is considered a necessary evil or duty rather than an important mission. Furthermore, association boards outsource facility service delivery in order to save time and responsibility. This has, among other things, lead to inefficient housing and facility management. By bringing associations together in strategic partnerships, commitment can be kindled and harnessed to improve local quality of life and continuity in association management. ElectriCITY is thus an example on how to utilise the potentials of local commitment for accelerating sustainable development.
All pilots and tests of solutions need to be financed, not only with in kind contributions but facilities and equipment; this is a constant challenge, also problematising the open question of ownership. Companies have a traditional linear production procedure, in which they ultimately engage lawyers to establish certain exclusive rights over products or services and control of communication. Such routines need to be modified in joint projects.
Engaged partners & stakeholder groups
Civil society: Global utmaning, Sjöstadsföreningen. Research organisations: KTH, RISE, IVL, Energiforsk. Public sector: City of Stockholm Environmental Department, Invest Stockholm.
Public companies: SEK, Vattenfall. Businesses: IBM, Intel, Skanska, Siemens, SBAB, Volvo, Nissan, E-On, JLO Invest, DEFA, Bengt Dahlgren, Enstar, Envac, Hertz, Imek, Infranode, Länsförsäkringar, Charge Amps, Saab, Renault, ABB, Innenco, L&T, NetPort, Xeric, STIK, Teyi, Taxi Stockholm, Veidekke, HSB, Sweco, CyclEurope, BoTrygg, Stockholm Cleantech.
Architect firms: Tengbom, White, Atrium Ljungberg. Other: Teknikföretagen, Riksbyggen.
Project: Stockholm Co-creation