Tensta 2009d

Tensta in the northern parts of Stockholm. A typical Miljonprogrammet neighborhood. (Photo: Holger.Ellgaard/CC-BY-SA 3.0)

Miljonprogrammet was an effort in the years 1965 to 1974 which aimed to build one million new appartments. This was to solve a severe lack of housing in many Swedish towns.

The goal was achieved, and about 25% of today's appartments in Sweden were built in these years.

However, there are certain drawbacks:

  • The houses are mostly ugly. To build so many appartments they chose to take the cheapest and easiest way: simple concrete building, large residential houses, all with the same layout That gives them a very uniform look.
  • Miljonprogrammet are mostly commuter towns. Instead of developing existing urban areas, the easier way was to build artificial new neighborhoods on previously occupied grounds. Thus, these areas offer few jobs and are not connected to the other parts of the commune.
  • As the lack of housing was never really solved, the appartments are all needed, which gives little room for major overhauls. While there may improvements in the inside (e.g. new bathrooms), the size and layout of the appartments has never changed. From the outside the buildings usually still look the same as they did in the 1970s.
  • All this makes living there never really desirable. Whoever can find and afford some nicer place will move away. It is no coincidence that troubled neighborhoods are almost all a product of Miljonprogrammet. Some of them have an almost ghetto-like appearance due to their high percentage of immigrants, the occasional troubles there and the high unemployment.
  • The artificiality of the housing is even more visible in Stockholm due to the fact that the northern end of both brances of the Blue Line are miljonprogrammet. The line was built just to serve these areas. Areas like Rinkeby and Tensta have become the embodiment of that.

Though this may sound horrible, it is actually quite convenient to live there: good connection to public transport and shops close by. Like most of Stockholm, it is also not very dangerous to live there. Thus, the biggest drawback is probably that it simpyl not very cosy to live there. Few housing options are further away from stereotype Swedish wooden houses than a Miljonprogrammet flat.

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