Sweden’s first free zone park for young girls Frizon, Umeå. Image courtesy of Andreas Nilsson

In accordance with the Archtober 2017 celebrations in New York City, Visit Sweden, STHLNYC, Architects Sweden, The Swedish Institute, and the Consulate of Sweden are collaborating on Swedish Design Moves New York. The program will start the week of October 24, 2017 with panel sessions and exhibitions that celebrates the innovative and environmental focus of Swedish architecture and design.

One such exhibition is called “Aiming for Democratic Architecture” focuses on architectural projects of varying scales from all over Sweden. Curated by the Architects Sweden and the Swedish Institute, it will open at the Van Alen Institute on October 26 and will remain displayed through October 28.

Illustration of Jubileumsparken, Göteborg (the Jubilee Park in Gothenburg). Image courtesy of Raumlabor BERLIN

According to a press release, this weeklong program “investigates Swedish architecture and design solutions that can help address universal urban issues,” with different solutions stemming from democratic architecture. New York City struggles with issues like affordable housing, so taking example from countries that are learning to incorporate a different kind of mindset in urban planning is essential to moving forward into the future.

Malmö Market Hall, exterior view. Photo by Andre Pih

Freezone park in Umeå. Photo by Andreas Nilsson

“The full week of programming is meant to share knowledge with New York’s design community on the sustainable philosophies and progressive practices Sweden upholds,” said Michael Persson Gripkow, Visit Sweden’s Chief Brand and Communications Officer.

Among the questions to be posed and discussed for the duration of the programs are:

1. How can we collaborate internationally to find creative solutions for a sustainable and democratic built environment?
2. How can design thinking be applied globally to create democratic urban spaces?
3. How can Swedish and American democratic processes inspire architects and urban planners in New York and around the world?

Kulturhuset Stadsteatern, Stockholm (Stockholm House of Culture & City Theater). Image courtesy of Matilda Rahm

Göteborg City playground. Photo by Jubileumsparken

Democratic urban spaces are important and benefit everyone from children to the elderly. What’s interesting is that Sweden’s egalitarian society has engineered a way for people and nature to cohabitate peacefully.

They take care to build around natural structures to support the environment instead of harming it. “We’re thrilled to start critical conversations and get a New York perspective on Sweden’s progressive, collaborative and inclusive approach to architectural design and urban planning,” said Niklas Arnegren, Head of Cultural Affairs and Public Programs at the Consulate General of Sweden.

Interior of Malmö Saluhall (Malmö Market Hall) in Malmö, Sweden. Image courtesy of André Pihl

Oset Rynningeviken, aerial view. Photo by Stefan Adolfsson.

The events for the week will feature a series of conversations. The full line-up is listed below, with more details here.

Conversation I: Democratic Architecture- A Process (October 24, Center for Architecture at 3 pm)
Conversation II: Democratic Architecture- Nature and Wellbeing (October 26, Van Alen Institute at 5 pm)
Conversation III: Democratic Architecture- Culture & People (October 27, Van Alen Institute at 5 pm)
Conversation IV: Democratic Architecture- Innovative Solutions (October 28, Van Alen Institute at 1 pm) Conversation V: Democratic Architecture- Art in Public Space (October 28, Van Alen Institute at 4 pm).

Next, be sure to check out Archtober before the month is up and see 5 Highlights of the Brooklyn Strand Community Vision.