International
Federation for
Housing and
Planning

A sleeping city has been brought back to life

The new city right in the heart of central Gothenburg by the waterfront, Älvstranden, is the display window for urban development in Gothenburg.

This year IFHP World Congress was not only about the lectures but had a number of different study visits and seminars on sight in different parts of the city. The combination of keynote speakers, study visits and seminars was an attempt to connect theory and practice, and at the same time a way to put the city on the mental map of the visitors by showing parts of the city.
The study visit I chose started out at Älvrummet, a place where people can gather information about the development and to meet and discuss the development of the area stretching from Norra to Söndre Älstranden. This house is special as its dedicated to interact with Gothenburg's citizens about the development of their city.

After visiting Älvrummet we went with the public ferry that took us along the river down to Eriksberg. Eriksberg is the first area in a row where deserted industrial areas in Gothenburg have been given new life.
Eriksberg is a multifaceted composition of both modern buildings and the remaining of the industrial buildings, which now includes workplaces, residential and recreational opportunities. The interesting mixture and the location right by the waterfront makes it an attractive area of Gothenburg.

A former shipyard and port area by the Göta Älv River were made available for other uses in the 1970s and a whole new city centre has now been built around the river. Göta Älv River is currently the most important urban development area in Gothenburg. Älvstranden Utveckling AB (a land development company) is the company leading the development of the area.

Eriksberg Photo:Mette Løth Rasmussen

The on going challenge for the city is the physical (due to the water) and the mental (due to the history) segregation of the city: Anneli Hulthén, the Mayor and Chairman of the City Executive in Gothenburg, said: “The people of Gothenburg are conservative and if you are born and raised on one side of the river, you don’t move to the other side. The difficult question is how do you stop segregation with people that segregate themselves. The city has taken the first steps toward one whole city, but many more steps are to come.”
This is a challenge many cities confront but by increasing the interaction with the citizens e.g. through the house Älvrummet and initiatives along the river, the city is dealing with the segregation and provoking a more inclusive city.   

A sleeping city dominated by deserted, worn down industry buildings has been brought back to life. The redevelopment has not yet reached all parts of Älstranden so while we wait for new human settlements and activity to flourish as Eriksberg; you still have the change to explore the magic of rough industrial architecture. The next big project is Frihamnen, a big unexploited green spot in the middle of the city and with the good work the City has done in mind I’m excited to follow the development of Gothenburg in the coming years.

For more information about Älvstranden and Eriksberg visit:
http://www.alvstranden.com/hem/