Gårdsten in Gothenburg shows how innovation, persistence, commitment, cooperation and participation have reversed the trend in a vulnerable urban district. Since Gårdstensbostäder was founded in 1997, crime has halved, people are now queueing for accommodation and 1,500 new homes are being built with various forms of tenure. The Gårdsten model has become something of a role model when it comes to smart community development, and both Swedish and foreign visitors turn up regularly to study this recipe for success. Gårdsten has gone from being particularly vulnerable to being particularly appreciated, and this development has attracted a great deal of attention.
Background and history
Gårdsten, in north-eastern Gothenburg, was constructed between 1969 and 1972. The buildings were three, five and eight storeys high, and accommodated some 2,200 municipal apartments. The district underwent negative change over several years, and was one of Sweden’s most run-down, unsafe areas when municipal housing company Gårdstensbostäder was founded in 1997. Crime rates and unemployment were high, and more than 800 of the 2,200 or so apartments were empty.
Gårdstensbostäder was founded with a clear remit from the municipality – to reverse the trend. The owner directive included adopting a long-term approach to sustainability in three dimensions: social, ecological and financial. Social sustainability for the entire district was emphasised, as was the location of the company in Gårdsten. Allowing tenants to have a real influence, increasing safety and measures designed to create jobs.
• Sun panels and solar cells on the three Solhusen (The Sun Houses) produces 780 MWh/year of electricity and heat.
• Some apartments have greenhouses and composters that turns household waste into topsoil.
• The energy for half of the premises comes from a wind turbine on Gårdstensbergen that has been built in cooperation with Göteborg Energi.
• Individual measurements of water, electricity and heat consumption save 25 kWh of electricity and 1 cubic meter of water per square meter and year. The residents have been driving this issue and they now see how the save money.
• When Gårdstensbostäder installed 100 new washing machines 2014/-15, they were the first in Europe that were heated by district heating. The work precisely as normal washing machines but uses up to 80 % less electricity.
• The tenants can join Gåprdstensbostäder’s carpool and rent an electric car. The cars are charged with electricity from Solhusen and the windmill.
Kastanjgården 3 SE-424 21 Angered