Thursday, March 5, 2009


We are in the town of Alingsås, population 26,000, which has an improvement initiative called Alingsås 2019. Adding 2,000 additional housing units and improving sustainability and quality of life of its inhabitants are part of this initiative. Last night I got to take a walk through the new development called Stadsskogen that is a “city in a forest”. The land had initially been forest and will now be home to 1,000 new housing units, nestled in between the trees. Much of the forest land is being preserved and the homes are clustered between the trees. 300 have been built already in a range of housing types; single-family, multi-family, townhome, and “multi-generational” houses for larger-sized families which are common in Sweden. These particular units were built along a semi-circle so that the yards never face the neighbor’s, and yet all take in the view of the nearby lake. Bike and walking trails are scattered throughout the development, and the bus and train are within walking distance. The project involved many different developers, builders, and architects of all sizes; each one was given their own piece of land to develop in their own way so each section is a little bit different.

The city has also Nolhaga, what they call their “outdoor living room”, which is a large park in the center of the city. Alingsås is called the “wooden city” because of the large number of wooden buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries, which are historically preserved. It is also home of the potato in Sweden, and hosts “Lights in Alingsås”, where innovative lighting designers create lighting installations to be on display for the month of October, drawing thousands of visitors.

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