A new plan for Stockholm is taking form at Arkitekturmuseet: Connecting- Stockholm or ‘how to plan for a Network-City’.

This is not an opposition to the new plan which the city building office presented to the city council in March 2010, which had been processed since 2007 and replaced the 1999 plan “Build the City Inwards”. The new plan is named “The City where you Walk”, or ‘The Pedestrian City’, in Swedish “Promenadstaden” and provokes questions which are very relevant for ‘The Network-City’

How to make a city inspiring for walking? A long time ago walking was merely a mean of transportation. Today walking is more of an exercise but also a pass time: take a stroll. We are normally too pressed for time to enjoy walking if it does not offer experiences of some kind: a break from the buzz, new impressions and hopefully some fresh air. Is it then relevant to name a general city plan “The city where you walk”? Does this headline give a clear directions for something as complex as a city plan?

We, Urban Nouveau, would like to dive deeper into this subject and take the architectural diploma work “Local Act, Global Change” (Sara Göransson 2005) out of the shelf…

A walk is not in place by the creation of a physical path. The points which it connects might not be ready for the exchange: the result will then be suspicion and feelings of insecurity. The increased occurrence of gated communities is an evident in case. Networks are created by the like of minds. To create a network which is not merely a physical connection, we ought to find common denominators for the points we want to connect, or, as one member of the international Connecting-Stockholm team expressed it: find the ‘Mecca of Stockholm’ or at least a ‘Mecca’ for several of its parts: increasing density to enhance the community feeling but without destroying the natural beauty values of the region?

However, once we have identified the ‘Mecca’, the next step will be to define a pedestrian route: it should offer security and shelter but also recognition, relaxation and pleasant experiences. Beyond the obvious, security is also about knowing that the route will take you to a place where you feel comfortable.

In conclusion, the Network-City is about completing the current star formed connections where every route leads to the centre and instead create a spider’s web where the centred threads are all connected by circles of threads. The important matter, which is also the spider’s concern, is to see to that the connection points are not too unevenly distributed and too different in strength. If this is the case, it is important to strengthen these points before making the connection. The connection will finally make each point really strong.

A Network-City is strong in all its parts. “Eventually everything connects – people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se.” (Charles Eames)

By the computer: Kristina B