On Wednesday 2 April, The King began a visit to various parts of the City of Stockholm to find out how the city is addressing the growing population through town planning, environmental technology and infrastructure.
It is expected that the City of Stockholm will have a million inhabitants by 2024, placing significant demands on the city.
The visit began at the Innovation information office, where The King was welcomed by Finance Commissioner Sten Nordin who explained that, since the year 2000, the number of inhabitants in Stockholm has grown and exceeded 900,000 in February 2014. A total of 140,000 new homes – as many as in Malmö today – will be built between now and 2030. There are high levels of inward migration to Stockholm, but many new Stockholmers are also being born each year and half the increase is due to newborn babies.
Development office manager Krister Schultz then took over and spoke about the construction of the new apartments. The aim is to double the number of new homes from 4,000 to 8,000 new apartments each year, including rental, tenant-owned and student apartments. The construction of new apartments also requires infrastructure expansion, not least the Stockholm Metro which is being extended towards Haga-Solna and Nacka. This expansion is essential in order to be able to build in new areas such as Hagastaden and to increase the population of areas such as Älvsjö and Farsta.
The King then visited Norra Djurgårdsstaden, which is currently being built on Royal Djurgården. The first residents moved in in October 2012, and more new apartments are now being built in this new district.
Norra Djurgårdsstaden is one of Northern Europe's most extensive urban development areas. A total of 12,000 new apartments and 35,000 new workplaces have been planned, together with a new harbour and a new tramway. The development is largely taking place in areas that were previously used for gas production and other industrial activities. The district has a clear environmental profile, and by 2030 it will be both climate adapted and fossil-free. Construction began on the first homes in May 2011. They were ready to move into in October 2012, and the new Värta Pier will open to ferry traffic in 2015. The new district is not expected to be completed until 2030.
After lunch, which was served at Kontorsvillan, Norra Djurgårdsstaden's project office, The King left for Frihamnen and boarded the M/S Delfin IV, where he was met by Ports of Stockholm CEO Johan Castwall. While the boat travelled along Frihamnen, Mr Castwall explained about Ports of Stockholm and the current phase-outs and development. Increased cruise traffic and a harbour for sustainable transport are being developed, while harbour areas such as Loudden, which is currently being converted into a residential area, are being phased out. Sustainable growth is the key concept behind the development of the port.
The M/S Delfin moored up at Magasin 2, Ports of Stockholm's head office. There, the City of Stockholm's Director of Environmental Administration Gunnar Söderholm spoke about the city's environmental programme. Stockholm aims to be completely carbon neutral by 2050, and this goal has won broad backing from the city council. Mr Söderholm explained that the most difficult problem to resolve is traffic, and the target is to achieve a fleet of fossil-free vehicles. Good environmentally-friendly vehicles, increasing the use of public transport and introducing restrictions for cars are some of the ways of reaching this target. Stockholm is already heading in the right direction. Cycling is increasing dramatically, all inner city buses are fossil-free and the congestion charge introduced in 2006 has reduced traffic in Stockholm, even though there are now 100,000 more people living in the city. The congestion charge will now be increased, and will also be introduced on the Essingeleden motorway. All new income from the congestion charge will go towards extending the Metro.
The King arrived at Fortum, where CEO Anders Egelrud welcomed him and presented the thermal power station's plans for the future.
The new thermal power station will bring annual savings of 650,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. In 1985, Sweden used 85% fossil fuels for heating. Today the figure is 20%, and by 2030 the figure will be 0% in Stockholm. This will be achieved – in addition to via the new thermal power station – by integrating district heating, dealing with wasted heat, and production cooperation with other energy companies.
The King arrived at the Norra Länken, which will open to traffic on 30 November.
The aim has been to improve the living environment along heavily trafficked routes and to improve the traffic situation. The construction of the Norra Länken began in 2007, employing up to 60 subcontractors with 1,200 employees, and is Northern Europe's biggest road tunnel project with a total of 13 kilometres of road tunnel. The Norra Länken is needed in order to be able to fully build Norra Djurgårdsstaden and Hagastaden.
The artistic design of the road tunnel was created by designers including Ann-Margret Fyregård, Mathias Klum and Pål Svensson.