In order to meet the global challenge, we need to create a place that provides the best possible conditions for innovation, mobility and room for many people. A dynamo for growth and prosperity.
This is not a world unique strategy. But we believe we have something that most competitors lack: a superb location, a stable societal model and our open Scandinavian culture.
Since 2011 Jernhusen has been working with developing the station area in Gothenburg into a new neighborhood for increased mobility, more human meetings and economic growth in western Sweden.
Early in the process, we realized that the station itself was a pitstop on a much longer journey. Of course, Swedens second and Scandinavias fifth largest city should have an attractive train station. But we saw an opportunity to achieve something much greater.
Our journey began when the Swedish government passed the West Sweden infrastructure initiative (Västsvenska paketet) and the project team for River City started working. From day one, we chose to be open with everything we do. Information about our current development is easiest found on this webpage. What we’ve already achieved is presented under the link “The journey step by step”.
We started by digging where we stood. In a nearly 400 year old city, largely designed and built by people from other countries. At a place where the people and governors of the Nordic Region met long before the national states of Sweden, Norway and Denmark were established. And within a company with railways as both its bloodstream and its nervous system.
These combined insights inspired us to aim higher than ever before. By thinking Big Region rather than city and system, we saw that 1 + 1 could be at least 3.
Human meetings spur ideas that give birth to innovation and growth
With the slogan “So much more than a station,” we formulated our mission: to create a station, but also a meeting place and a destination for northern Europe, a new neighborhood in the city of neighbourhoods and a bridgehead to the future, sending a strong message to the rest of the world.
Based on this vision, RegionCity is evolving in dialogue between Jernhusen, the City of Gothenburg and a tri-country Scandinavian team of architects. Together we act sustainably, flexibly and with future generations in mind. We work in an agile process where options are tested and ideas are evaluated along the way – as the map is constantly changing.
So, in this highly competitive world, how can we make the best use of cracked old asphalt surfaces and rusty train yards in the center of Gothenburg? The age of industrialism is already far behind us and we have just entered a new era where everyone is fighting over the talents that can create prosperity for the many.
Our solution is based on exploiting the city’s temperament, its location in the heart of Scandinavia and our genuine belief in the power of the meeting. From this emerged the idea of a building a new neighborhood in the city of neighbourhoods, with its Haga, Majorna, Linné and all other characteristic districts of Gothenburg.
Densification is the key word when more people want to live and work in large cities and regions, without expanding the urban sprawl and increasing car traffic. We tested three different development paths: mini, midi and maxi. Mini meant keeping to the historical scale with low buildings established at the end of the 18th century. The midi version would allow “a church tower” in each neighbourhood, but nothing else standing out. Finally, maxi means radically higher construction on a concentrated surface.
Establishing the right balance requires weighing in both sustainability and jobs. Building RegionCity on the historical principles would supply about 3,000 jobs. By introducing a tall cityscape on a concentrated surface, we can be instrumental in pushing the number of potential new jobs to 30,000. The most sustainable solution is to allow a density equivalent to today’s central London, Vancouver or Melbourne – all top ranking on the list of the world’s most liveable cities.
Another factor is that one hundred new jobs in RegionCity renders 70 new jobs in the Region Västra Götaland.
By building a lot, we spread prosperity
In RegionCity, every detail is carefully balanced for both people and businesses to grow – but not at the expense of the environment.
The work is carried out in consultation with researchers, frequent travelers and temporary visitors, aiming to create a biological, economic and social sustainability for the future. To these three well-established parameters of sustainability, we add a fourth, namely cultural sustainability.
All four components are equally important and must be included to ensure sustainability for future generations. However, the most important parameter may vary from place to place. In poorer regions one must usually begin with economic sustainability in order to even start addressing the others. In heavily industrialized countries, the environment is neglected. In some regions resources are unevenly distributed, be it pertaining nature, economics or culture – then social sustainability is the primary issue.