Upplands Väsby, Stockholm
Upplands Väsby has roughly 45 000 residents and is a fairly stable municipality that, for various reasons, experienced a decline in construction in the 1990s and onwards, preventing the municipality from growing in concordance with the rest of the Stockholm region. These conditions, coupled with a slowly increasing risk for social problems and unrest, led to measures being taken by the centre-right political majority for altering the housing stand considerably. Public housing company Väsbyhem was to a large extent sold to private companies in order to promote a higher diversity of residents and choices of housing. The Fyrklövern area was a natural choice for a new development project in which different forms of new apartments could be constructed. Altogether, some 2 000 apartments will be built by 14 different construction companies. The main objective for the project is to densify, renew and refine an already existing city centre.
Good practices & solutions
In order to reach the high ambitions, external consultancy was acquired, as well as a participatory dialogue process called Väsby Labs. This developed into an experimental, co-creative process involving citizens, construction companies, architects, politicians, private sector, schools and preschools, students and other actors in a series of workshops, of which one took place in the middle of the city mall. The process resulted in a steering committee coordinating the future work with the Fyrklövern project.
Interestingly enough, although the municipality produced a ready plan for development, no construction companies were committed to accept it due to various reasons, including high prices and Väsby being regarded as too peripheral. In order to overcome this stalemate, the working committee decided to proceed with the 54 most promising ideas from Väsby Labs and develop them into a “menu” for potential contractors. The contractors would select which ideas they would be willing to realise and at what cost. This system resulted in 15 land assignment deals during 2014, allowing the municipality to proceed with planning operations.
An external jury of 7 experts from academia, architecture and construction assessed the various propositions from the contractors in an iterative process in which each proposition was being reworked in several steps. The jury assigned points to each proposition, each point reducing the cost per square meter with 1 SEK.
Outcome & opportunities
The various involved stakeholders have experienced surprisingly little disagreement over the issue and the project has attracted much attention from various directions. Fyrklövern is regarded as a potential for maintaining a diverse community by inspiring new income groups to move into the area.
Lessons learned & recommendations
Construction companies, and to some extent architects, however skilled and experienced, lack creativity regarding many aspects of the construction process. They turned out to be surprisingly standardised in their idea formulations during the project. For future prospects, alternative stakeholders would be interesting to try out, such as joint building ventures, in order to inspire more diversity.
The point-based system proved valuable to all involved, as it ensured a richness in the construction plans that otherwise would have risked getting lost along the process, as was often the case in previous experiences. The point-based system empowered the municipal civil servants in their dialogue with the contractors, as these had agreed to develop the area in a certain way that they later had to follow up accordingly regardless of their financial considerations.
Engaged partners and stakeholder groups
Construction companies, local residents, Upplands Väsby Municipality. Interdisciplinary sustainability expert group from research, construction and architecture (Senior experts from Gehl Architects, Jernhusen, KTH, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sweco, Utopia arkitekter)
Project: Stockholm Co-creation