I spent the morning visiting a friend who now lives in Hammarby Sjöstad. It is an area outside the city that I have never visited. Always up to see something new and to have a reason to take the train to far away stops I have never had a reason to visit, I was very game when she suggested to take the train out to see her rather than her come into the city.
I have heard about Hammarby. I knew that it was billed as some sort of eco-designed planned living concept. I guess, a sort of city outside of the city with everything the residents would need all very close. Supposedly it is planned to have half the environmental impact. What I did not know was that it was, for a long time, a run-down industrial area that was transformed into this conceptual living space.
It seemed to have all the perks of suburban living as well as the benefits of city living. Running paths on the water, stores and services with in walking distance, spacious apartments, family friendly, pretty architecture and cleanliness. Ferries come frequently through out the day that take you down town and a tram comes every three minutes taking you to the main t-bana routes.
My first reaction, a few years ago, when she told me where she was moving and the concept was pretty much, "meh". I had heard stories of residents selling their cars and forming transportation co-ops (apparently that idea has since fizzled as people have realized: does not work so good in reality as it does in concept). As soon as I hear sustainability, green, eco, etc., I pretty much tune out. My mind gets visions of commie blocs, poor water pressure and over zealous eco-freaks reporting neighbors for improperly sorted garbage.
Hammarby seemed pretty idyllic and a nice place to raise a family. A solid compromise with city, water and nature in reach. I even detected a hint of envy as my friend described her yoga class with the instructor from Brooklyn.