Sweden’s ‘Street Moves’ concept wants locals to travel no more than a minute to access everything they need, from outdoor gyms to social hubs. Rose Dykins reports

Swedish think tank ArkDes has come up with a building kit to transform the way we use city streets, as part of its Street Moves project, which takes the “15-minute city” concept to an even more granular level.

The 15-minute city urban planning concept is about designing cities so residents can reach everything they need within a quarter of an hour (walking or cycling).

The idea has gained traction during Covid-19 due to its solutions that focus on minimising the need for travelling long distances to reach work, home or leisure attractions, and its belief in the importance of thinking local to incite sustainable change.

And now, ArkDes’s new concept is taking it even further by empowering citizens to add public facilities right outside their doorstep, paving the way for “one-minute cities”.

The idea is for residents to participate in planning the layouts of their own streets, so that cities better meet the needs of their community, with that aim that: “Every street in Sweden is healthy, sustainable and vibrant by 2030.”

Street Moves by ArkDesArkDes’s think tank, which is part of the Sweden’s national centre for architecture and design, has worked with the Swedish government to create the building kit as part of Street Moves.

Currently being tested and evaluated in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Helsingborg, the building kit comprises an expandable modular wooden platform, with different parts that can be placed on top of one another.

Street Moves by ArkDes © Elsa SolängDesigned by Lundberg Design, the building kit means city residents can quickly build shared facilities such as playgrounds, outdoor gyms, urban gardens, storage, social hubs, open-air meeting spaces, electric charging stations for cars and parking for electric scooters.

Street Moves by ArkDesThe goal of Street Moves is for architecture and design to: “Contribute to a sustainable and equitable society with thoughtfully designed urban environments, where everyone has the opportunity to influence the development of the shared environment.”

The project is inspired by cities such as San Francisco, which have piloted projects where its streets have been furnished in different ways, and parking spaces around the city have been reclaimed as spaces for citizens to meet.

A core principle of Street Moves is dedicating more of a city’s space to be used by people, rather than cars. “There is so much potential to develop what urban space can be used for,” says Daniel Bystrom, project manager for the project Street Moves at ArkDes.

“For the past 60 years, we’ve planned our cities around cars; now it’s time to start designing streets for other things, such as satisfying an increasing need for greenery and meeting places in the city.”

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