overview-compressed Image: Anders Berensson Architects

Leave it to a the Swedes to make increasing urban density look good. Anders Berensson Architects have reimagined a stretch of land along the Sjö Canal in Stockholm that’s currently covered by railway tracks. The proposal, titled “Klarastaden” or “Clear City,” suggests building a network of tower blocks which vary in height and are connected by pedestrian footbridges.

Stockholm is in the midst of a critical housing crisis — as one of the fastest growing cities in Europe, its population is expected to swell by 17 per cent over the next nine years. The plan to transform the underused site was commissioned by Stockholm’s Center Party. Key elements of the concept include burying railway tracks within underground tunnels and developing residential and office towers with ground floor retail.

The blocks would measure between eight and 100 meters tall (26 – 328 ft.), with lush courtyards in between to provide a breath of fresh air. The pedestrian bridges, also known as sky walks, would be open to the public, thus reducing foot traffic at street level. Some 8,000 offices would occupy the area’s tallest towers, and are situated closer to the city’s Central Station. The residential buildings are mid-rise and located on the outskirts, with 90 percent of units offering sweeping views of the canal.

“Clear City” also seeks to increase parkland and green spaces. Approximately 2,000 meters (6,562 ft.) of shoreline will be freed up, allowing the city to reclaim it as an outdoor public space. The canal district can be reached by skywalk, providing a bird’s eye view of the city and the lush rooftop gardens below.

Accessibility was another important aspect of the design. “If you build skyscapers in Stockholm, it’s very expensive housing,” said Berensson in an interview with Sweden’s The Local. “I wanted to be able to give something back to the public too, so I came up with the idea of the roofscapes.” It remains to be seen whether the plan will be approved, but it’s an undoubtedly Scandinavian approach to improving high-density urban areas.


sky walks-compressed Images: Anders Berensson Architects

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