The May sun shines down on a forest of construction cranes along Norra Stationsgatan, where Solna and Stockholm meet. The railway tracks and the E4 motorway are being overbuilt to make space for offices and housing in the growing cities. Spectacular housing projects are shooting up towards the clear blue sky like exclamation marks. In the media, these exclamation marks have been converted into quizzical question marks in the wake of tighter mortgage rules and a saturated market for exclusive residential projects. At the same time, there is broad political agreement about the importance of correcting the housing shortage that exists all across Sweden, but in very different segments to those that the media claims are suffering a crisis of oversupply.
Homebuilding is a complex field that in various ways relies on a clear, consistent and proactive policy at both national and local level. The consequences of Sweden seemingly being unable to resolve the issues and boost building where it is needed, and for the people who need it, simply increase segregation. In many areas this unfortunately provides fertile ground for a housing black market ripe for criminal activity. If, in this context, we expand the notion of sustainability to include more than just climate change and choices of construction materials, it becomes obvious that this situation is definitely not sustainable, and without a proactive policy things are only going to get worse.
Sweden is a rich country with the resources to tackle this issue. If we are to retain our position as an innovative country that leads the way, the platform for this must be sustainable. One of the most important elements of this platform is the education system – which should make the most of every young person’s talents and create a knowledge society that encourages a climate of innovation and gives us strong and competitive manufacturing and services sectors. Good and safe home and school environments are crucial for a student’s ability to learn and develop.
The Swedish wood construction industry is steadily growing its share of the community planning sector, offering alternatives to traditional construction by being more resource-efficient, delivering a significantly lower carbon footprint and reducing polarisation.
Build sustainably NOW!