The Hammarby Sjöstad neighborhood of Stockholm, Sweden, was historically heavily polluted by industry, which is why it ended up being abandoned. However, today it is considered the first sustainable neighborhood in the city.
Two decades ago, with the idea that this city would become the site of the 2004 Olympic Games (which finally was held by Athens), Stockholm initiated a plan for Hammarby and the total transformation of the old industrial area into an eco-district. -sporty, with around 1000 apartments for more than 26000 inhabitants.
One of the urban planning strategies was to create a ‘closed circuit of urban metabolism’, that is, sustainable systems for both water, waste and energy.
A multidisciplinary team of architects, engineers and urban planners devised that each house had a system in which wastewater was transformed into Biogas and thermal energy to be used later in different public heating systems, as well as fuel for public transport. The solid waste would instead be transformed into compost.
One of the most famous features of the Hammarby model was the implementation of a waste sorting and transport system called ENVAC - a vacuum suction system for household waste and waste (including combustible and compostable waste).
Throughout the neighborhood it is possible to see rubbish bins embedded in the ground, since this system has underground pipes so that the waste reaches a common terminal classified from the moment it is deposited. Once deposited, the filled garbage bags are intermittently transported to substations on the periphery of the neighborhood, resulting in remarkably efficient garbage collection without the need for garbage trucks to enter residential areas.
The design of the public space is translated into squares and parks that are intermingled by the buildings, making the residents interact with both the architecture and the landscape, with the option of even reaching a natural reserve that was protected to conserve the local fauna.
Hammarby Sjöstad was the first district in which a tram line was built as the main mode of transport. Other sustainable local transport systems include a pedestrian and bicycle network, the 'car sharing system' and the popular free-ride ferry that connects Hammarby Sjöstad with the South Island of Stockholm.
Hammarby Sjöstad was designed by grouping between 4 and 5 residential complexes with the intention of creating small compact cores with reasonably spacious green courtyards. The height of the buildings allows for interior patios with ample possibilities and incentives to develop both the green of the building's entrance and the green of the common patio, while facilitating small-scale cultivation in plots containing micro-greenhouses.
In addition, the green roof system was established, which is an important part of the rainwater harvesting system. Most buildings have solar panels on their roof to supply their electrical and partly thermal operation.