Housing in Stockholm is expensive and damn hard to find. It didn’t use to be like that. Back in the 80s, Sweden considered to have one of the world’s most equal and just housing systems. Almost 30 years later, the situation is a mess. Not many people outside of Sweden know it, but in order to sign an official, reasonably priced renting contract for an apartment in the city center, one has to wait in a queue for over a decade.
Many factors contributed to this situation: the economic crisis of 1990s’; changes in housing regulations; the recent housing bubble; and the longing of Generations X and Y to live in the city, even when they start a family, in comparison to their parents who flew to the suburbs. No matter what the reason is, unless you are rich or your childless uncle just died and left you his apartment, it is almost impossible to live in Stockholm’s city center.
The development after the second World War in Stockholm, in addition to the city’s topography (Stockholm is built on 14 islands), resulted with several rings of suburbs around the city center. Unlike other cities, in which poor neighbourhoods are attracting the creative class and being gentrified, in Stockholm you have two options: pay a lot to live in the city or live in the suburbs. There’s nothing in between.
So even in one of the most equal places in the world, not everybody can live in the city center. But if one settles down to live outside the vibrant city center, one can find a great and pleasant living environment, just few train stops from the city.
This is the first part of a small journey, in order to discover other livable alternatives to Stockholm’s city center. Many of the city’s suburbs are built the same: quiet residential buildings in low density, situated around a metro station and small shopping center. I won’t cover these neighborhoods - I feel that they are too boring. I want to reveal neighborhoods that got the potential to become vibrant in some years.
First stop, Blåsut.
It’s hard to call Blåsut a suburb. It is situated only 3 metro stations out of trendy Södermalm, a matter of less than 10 minutes to the city center. But it’s situated outside of the city, and still much cheaper than central Stockholm. One can buy a 40m2 apartment in Blåsut for just over 2 million SEK. The same apartment in Södermalm or Kungsholmen would cost around 50% more. Extensive construction is going on in the neighborhood. The eastern side of the station is completely new, and not all buildings are finished. But i have a good feeling about Blåsut.
Such a big surprise to be in a neighbourhood outside of the city center where something actually happens. Right outside the metro station I found a nice pizzeria full with people. Most of the new buildings in the neighbourhood are residential only, but in Sofielundsvägen, the main street of the new development, one can find stores and offices on the ground floor. I wish there were a bit more offices in the area, so that Blåsut won’t be empty during daytime.
very close to the city center, and no matter where you live in the neighbourhood, you can reach the metro station in just minutes. It takes only 10 minutes to cycle to the southern part Södermalm.
Street Life 2/5 (will be updated)
expected to get better when the construction process is over. I visited the neighbourhood during a sunny Sunday afternoon, and the street were pretty empty. The restaurants and cafes at the main street (Sofielundsvägen) haven’t opened yet, so we need to wait.