Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rich Man's Ghetto

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As much as I love my hometown I also find certain parts of it rather horrendous, be the reason the architecture, lack of cosiness and style, the atmosphere or the general inhabitants, sometimes it's just difficult to pinpoint exactly what makes the shoe not fit.

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One great thing about Stockholm is that most everywhere in general one can see the sky and the grand views, there's room to breath and the city line isn't spoilt by skyscrapers. But alas builders and the city council have most certainly made their best these past few years to ruin these views and the city silhouette.

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There are just too too many chunks of unappealing cement monstrosities appearing here, there and everywhere, high and low. Stockholm isn't a city of Berlin's size, these types of urban development building projects and architecture doesn't fit - and to be quite honest, I can't see anyone being completely content, compassionate and happy living in such charmless building blocks that shames the sky and the city.

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One part of the city, or more like the near city suburbs, is Hammarby Sjöstad - which can be roughly translated into Hammer Village Lake City, and somehow that name says a lot when you translate and think about it... - with its, IMHO, basically only two redeeming features being 1) you can get to and, most importantly, from the place by a sweet no fees-ferry that takes a few minutes to cross Hammarby sjö (lake),

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2) you can get to and, most importantly, from the place with the perfect sightseeing public transport the modern tram Tvärbanan.

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Other than that, I find the whole place and its, by some, celebrated architecture and once upon a time new thinking completely and utterly depressing, somewhat ghost townish and more than a bit hostile. The occasional people you see around there either look like something semi-similar to the walking living dead or just plain unhappy sour faced. I can't recall ever having seen someone who looks delighted and happy about living, working, being in that neighbourhood.

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The neighbourhood was considered the height of modernity when the Bo02 fair (annual housing-fairs held in Sweden, in new built or rebuilt areas), most of the place previously being a rundown industrial site. Myself I think the whole scene, with few architectural quirks exceptions, to be like a ginormous uncharming show room, with giant windowed apartments on display, cement box houses and not nearly enough privacy to neither live nor breath, a sad and typical rich man's ghetto. As much as architecture can impress, fill you with awe and giddiness, it most certainly can make you feel quite the opposite too. If you by chance might think it doesn't look half bad in these photos, that's just me desperately trying to make things looking tad bit appealing because I can't stand ugliness. Period.

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More information and photos - and lots of interesting details such as inhabitant's surveys for example - in Swedish here and a bit in English here

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4 comments:

ingrid said...

After two short visits for me Stockholm is the most beautiful capital I know. I like it very much.
Thank you for the photos and the texts.
Ingrid, from the South of Germany

Anonymous said...

Personally I love Hammary Sjöstad. Have you considered moving to a more joyful place perhaps.

Anonymous said...

I just want to say that I totally disagree. I love the architecture and the people seems very relaxed and happy compared to the average "typical" swede. I'll go as far as proclaiming it to be one of the better "towns" I've been to.
My two cents - George

Pia K said...

Thanks, Ingrid, glad you enjoyed your visits here! Myself I've much enjoyed journeys to some parts of Germany, the highligts being Schwarzwald, Berlin and Hamburg.

Interesting enough tastes, impressions and opinions differ, Anonymous and George, thanks for taking the time to comment and sharing yours.

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