Stockholm night time challenges

Can public spaces in Stockholm be active and attractive 24 hours a day? The goal of the last co-creation session at Gather 2019 was to generate new ideas and discuss challenges of this topic, as Stockholm is facing what seems to be a permanent conflict between being a vibrant city and the citizens’ right to sleep.

Popular and attractive night time venues in Stockholms are often in risk of being closed due to neighbors’ complaints. However, even though laws and regulations are usually the first thing that come up in discussions regarding any type of nightlife in Stockholm, moderators of the workshop tried to focus on co-creating opportunities for nightlife development and safeguarding this cultural infrastructure. Three experts: Phd Candidate Rosa Danenberg, Master's student Michael Mallinder-MacLeod and traffic planner Theodor Bratt engaged in the “Levande Stockholm”-project with Trafikkontoret, shared their respective points of views. 

Even with the existing frames, there are positive examples of active night time public spaces in Stockholm, often based on seasonal use of permanent structures. The most famous examples are 1) nightclubs Under Bron and Trädgården, which create a vibe and bring life to the area under the Skanstull bridge, 2) the transformation of the centre of Kungsträdgården that turns into an ice rink during winter time, and 3) the project Levande Stockholm (Living Stockholm) in which selected roads are transformed into pedestrian streets during summer time. 

The research of Rosa Danenberg and Michael Mallinder-MacLeod has shown that citizens of Stockholm estimate the Stockholm nightlife as good or average. The citizens express a wish for more night time activities and a broader variety of cultural venues. At the same time, the public planning institutions such as Trafikkontoret, aim to meet the needs of the citizens. They have put up a goal of encouraging citizens to appropriate and use local areas to take part in creating the public spaces that they would like to come to and spend time at every day.

The visitors of the workshop received an opportunity to contribute to the ongoing discussion concerning night time activation of public spaces in Stockholm. The groups shared their ideas and discussed what they wanted night time Stockholm to be like, as well as how to encourage citizens to become involved in the place-making process. It is important to remember that we, the users of public spaces, can and should be proactive in their creation.

Think Different