Street furniture unit in Stockholm, Source: ArkDes Facebook page

Swedish cities aim to become 1-minute cities

Swedish cities aim to become 1-minute cities

This looks like an art project with a dose of Scandinavian design

If Paris came up with the idea for the ’15-minute city’ in which every place you need to be during the day is located with a 15-minute walk - Stockholm, and other Swedish cities, are responding with a ‘1-minute city’ idea.

This project, actually known as Street Moves, involves filling up vacant parking spots on the streets with prefabricated wooden furniture of varying designs. What is even better, the local residents participate in the design and placement of the furniture so that they feel they have a say in the development of their immediate environment and a vested interest in using it.

Putting the ‘local’ back in localities

The design of the street furniture aims to encourage socializing and communal feel and help residents reclaim the streets back from motorized traffic. Built from light wood and reminiscent of Lego or Ikea units, the pieces of furniture can be used for sitting, chatting with friends, having a meal, storing bikes or other micro-mobility vehicles, exercising, charging electrical units or tending a garden.

This initiative, which began in the Swedish capital last autumn and is expected to spread to other major cities in the country, is not considered a lofty grandiose undertaking, the way the Paris one is. Instead, the focus here is on hyperlocality.

It is a response to the fatigue experienced by people being isolated at home during a pandemic and wanting to expand the idea of home outside of the walls of one’s own apartment or house. Its ingenuity lies in the flexibility of the street furniture units which can be quickly assembled but also disassembled and moved thus playing with the idea of fixity that is usually inherent to urban fittings and landscape.

Street Moves is led by Vinnova – The Swedish national innovation agency in partnership with ArkDes Museum and Lundberg Design.

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