Vällingsby and Farsta-from Idea to Reality
The New Community Development Process in Stockholm
Popular and professional literature throughout the world has spotlighted Stockholm's accomplishments in solving its urban problems—no ghettos or urban sprawl, no slums, no poverty. And particular attention has been given to Vällingby and Farsta, two of the more than twenty new communities developed by the city since the Second World War. They have been featured on television and are regularly visited by city administrators, economists, planners, architects, real estate developers, and government officials. Some of their features are clearly visible in the new American towns of Reston and Columbia. Yet, in spite of this interest, this book is the first full-scale study of the development of these new communities.
The book is developed as a case study of some aspects of the planning and construction of Vällingby and Farsta—built under the direction of the city of Stockholm—and deals in detail with these questions: What was the political and administrative framework in which the planning and building of these communities were carried out? Who were the major participants? What were their responsibilities? How were their efforts coordinated? And what were the problems they faced? The author gives an empirical description and an analysis of the methods and procedures used in organizing the planning and building of the two communities. He then identifies and analyzes the system or organized institutions and the series of administrative procedures that made possible the creation of Vällingby and Farsta. The investigation traces the emergence and development of ideas as well as the administrative procedures.
This study examines the planning for the development areas of Vällingby and Farsta in Stockholm from 1930 to 1960, concentrating mainly on those general plan proposals and efforts that were “comprehensive,” that is, those that attempted to inaugurate a new urban center form.
Printed documents (plans, city council records, city commissioners' records, committee minutes, reports, and official memoranda) served as a source of information about the more formal aspects of the urban planning process. But to find out how proposals, compromises, and decisions were made and carried out, the author conducted interviews with the people themselves—the people whose daily actions and decisions lie behind the summaries of records and documents. More than sixty tape-recorded interviews with participants involved in the Vällingby and Farsta development process were made. The participants interviewed included councilmen, commissioners, city board members, directors of municipal offices, representatives of financial institutions, and builders. The information the respondents provided offers insights into the “how” and “why” of the urban planning process. The tabulation and correlation of these responses, analyzed in connection with the other research information, lead to valuable statements about this process.