In the shadow of this week’s general election, there have been some interesting proposals lately that haven’t really made their way into the election debate. One of them regards Swedens big “million programme” houses.
Talking about energy smart houses, it’s easy to start thinking about futurist buildings made of high-tech materials. But this is not necessarily the case.
Between the middle of the 1960s and the mid 1970s one million flats were built in Sweden, as a way to take care of the big lack of apartments after years of urbanisation. The large scale house-building wave that the Swedish state initiated was called the ”million programme” and among other things it had the purpose to give people a good and secure standard of living in a time when housing was often expensive and of poor quality. This investment resulted in big and almost identical neighbourhoods emerging in many parts of the country almost at the same time – which wasn’t a time when energy savings was on the top of the priority list.
Now, more than four decades later, it’s high time for all these houses to be renovated. This will mean great costs, but the Tällberg Foundation means this can also be seen as an opportunity to make these houses good examples when it comes to energy use and other environmental parameters.
In an article in the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet the vice vd of the Tällberg Foundations Carl Mossfeldt says that taking care of the million programme houses is a society building project of the same size as the one performed in the 1960s, but today the power is decentralised in a whole different way than then. That makes it much harder for a government today to take an initiative.
Many different parts of society has to cooperate here, says Mossfeldt. First of all the people living in these houses, but also municipalities, house-owners, building companies and Government authorities.
The foundation now works to gather people to start the discussion about both the technical and social angles of this challenge, since segregation is also a problem in many of these housing areas.
– Should we do this just a little, or thoroughly? This could create tens of thousands of new jobs – many of which in the most vulnerable areas. Used right this can work as a motor for integration, says Mosssfeldt.
I have earlier written about million programme houses being converted into passive houses in Alingsås. Maybe this could be a continuation, on a larger scale?