Skärholmen, Sweden, Europe
Year1968latitude: 59° 16'
longitude: 17° 54'
Planning organizationSvenska Bostäder (The Swedish Housing Corporation) and the City of Stockholm
Nationality initiator(s)
Designer(s) / Architect(s)Wilhelm Boijsen
Dag Efvergren
Design organizationBoijsen & Efvergren
Inhabitants7,900 (2007)
Target population
Town website
Town related links

type of New Town: > scale of autonomy
New Town
Company Town
> client
Private Corporation
Public Corporation
> policy
Made entirely of prefabricated elements, Skärholmen in the south west of Stockholm was built between 1964 and 1975 with Svenska Bostäder (The Swedish Housing Corporation) as commissioner and administrator. Designed by architects Boijsen and Efvergren, the centre was constructed between 1964 and 1968 and inaugurated September 8, 1968. The first residents moved into Ekholmsvägen 79 - 81 September 1, 1965. The new town came into being as a part of the ambitious Million Program of 1965 - 1974 to meet the desperate need of housing around the Swedish cities of Göteborg, Stockholm and Malmö in the 1960s. The total land area is 183 hectars and the number of inhabitants is 7602 (2004).

Formerly a part of Huddinge municipality, Skärholmen was incorporated into the city of Stockholm January 1, 1963. Originally, the area consisted of fields, woods, and valleys with a varied topography. The name Skärholmen stems from a farm, Skärholmens gård, that still exists at Mälaren.

Parallelly situated, the prefabricated lamella houses, some by Ernst Grönwall, make up a sort of modern city wall or mountain village. There is a curious relationship between the dwellings on the height towards the south and the centre with the square of Skärholmen Torv as a nod between the two. However, the drastic difference in height caused by the topography make the courtyards into small terraces. An elevator connects the different terraces with the big shopping centre. Due to a special cladding, the houses shined like diamonds when they were new. In recent years, however, they have undergone a major transformation that has brought by some debate.
With the intention to make Skärholmen a district centre for the neighbouring areas, a general plan was made in 1963. This future was further discussed in eight different plans dominated by the will to make it a new town for car users. The final plan counted 1 cars per rental apartment and 2 cars per single-family house. As a result, a parking house for 4000 cars was built in the centre. However, the number of cars never reached this scale, so part of the parking house is used as a local flee-market.
Skärholmen centre is constructed as a system of walking streets between two squares. The Tunnelbana (metro) and underground tunnels to transport goods to the shops are running under it. Apart from shops, there is a house of the people, a church, two mosques, offices, and a sports hall. November 22, 1984 the centre was glassed in together with the street of Bredholmsgatan.
Due to the debatable quality of the architecture and a high concentration of less resourceful people on welfare, the area is often portrayed as a ghetto. Similar to the majority of the Million Program new towns, this tarnished reputation has created an evil spiral where more resourceful choose to leave and less resourceful are forced to stay.
Currently, the centre is being redeveloped with the vision to make it one of Europes biggest. Like other new towns in the region, Skärholmen is connected to inner city Stockholm approx. 12 kilometres away via the red line of the T-bana 2. The station was opened March 1, 1967 as the 64th station.

source: Signe Sophie Boeggild

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