Tenants in focus in Hammarkullen, Gothenburg

As the EU-GUGLE projects’ Technical Committee held a meeting in Gothenburg in the end of October, the committee visited the housing area Hammarkullen to learn more about the local work. Wenche Lerme, Development manager for Urban Planning in the Angered district, City of Gothenburg and Rafael Lavicki, from Bostadsbolaget, one of Sweden’s biggest public benefit housing companies, guided the technical committee around the area.

Rafael Lavicki, Bostadsbolaget, and EU-GUGLE project coordinator Florencio Manteca Gonzalez, CENER  at the site visit in Hammarkullen.
Rafael Lavicki, Bostadsbolaget, and EU-GUGLE Project Coordinator Florencio Manteca Gonzalez, CENER, at the site visit in Hammarkullen.

The area of Hammarkullen is located in Angered, one of ten city districts in Gothenburg, northeast of downtown. Angered is verified, with agricultural landscapes, and large housing areas as part of the Swedish “Million homes program” from the late 1960s to early 1970s. The building stock in Hammarkullen consists of large scale residential buildings, one of the blocks more than 300 meter long, but here are also areas with 3-storey buildings and small scale terraced houses and villas.

Hammarkullen is a multicultural district, with almost 8000 inhabitants. Today more than 80% of the population in the area has an immigration background and about 57 % of the inhabitants are born abroad. Many have come here as refugees. Hammarkullen, however, has a rich and vibrant community, with many, both large and small, associations where people meet and share common interests. But many of these associations have been waiting for a long time to find premises to rent, and some don’t have the economy to rent a place. Bostadsbolaget, the district council Angered and the Tenants’ Association wanted to support the strong local community and in order to meet the needs of the association premises, and to maximize the utilization of the space available they have invested in building a space of more than 600 square meters. This means that a community center – a new association for local clubs could be founded. The group from the EU-GUGLE project was shown around the newly refurbished spaces. To run the premises, Bostadsbolaget, the district council Angered and the Tenants’ Association will employ two persons who can support the business.

Wenche Lerme, Development manager for Urban Planning in the Angered district, tells the group about the development of the area.
Wenche Lerme, Development manager for Urban Planning in the Angered district, tells the group about the development of the area.

In February 2016, Bostadsbolaget could welcome 890 new households to its ownership. As the Technical Committee walked around the area, Rafael Lavicki shared his experiences of the challenges of including such a large amount of apartments in the building stock. Through the acquisition, Bostadsbolaget could take a strategic and long-term overall approach in the area. But some changes needed to be made quite fast, to increase the security and well-being of the tenants. For instance, adding doors and locks to underground parking spaces, has improved the safety, and organizing the waste collection system has added other values. The further refurbishments inside the houses will have to be made more gradually, Rafael Lavicki told the visiting group. Refurbishments will start with the bathrooms, and tenants will be able to choose between three levels of refurbishment, where the lowest level will add nothing to the rent cost. “We try the best we can”, says Rafael Lavicki, as he talks about how Bostadsbolaget and its partners in the area make extra efforts to care for their tenants.  Hammarkullen is one of Bostadsbolaget’s two development areas, where the company will invest extra to contribute to a safer and more pleasant area. The work will continue in very close cooperation with the district council administration, the Tenants’ Association, the Park and Nature Management and other stakeholders in the area.