Tuesday, April 21, 2020

A “Planning Code” disguised as a Building Code: The National Building Code of 1874 and The Stockholm Building Code of 1876

It seems that the king was impressed by the Lindhagen Plan, because even though it hadn’t been accepted and implemented by the City of Stockholm, the king asked Lindhagen to update the nation’s Building Code.  Many aspects of the 1874 ordinance were updates of the same themes that had been developed in the periodically updated building codes since the 1700’s, but the updated code of 1874 had two very significant new provisions: First, all Swedish cities were now required to draw up comprehensive city plans to direct future development of the city.  Secondly, the Building Code required each city to establish a Building Board to review permit applications.  The Stockholm Building Code of 1876 was Stockholm’s response to these new requirements.   

The National Building Code of 1874: Same old, same old
The goal of this updated code was “neatness, cleanliness, air exchange, and safety.”  However, the code didn’t give a lot of specific guidelines as to cleanliness or safety other than that roofs could not be of straw, peat, wooden shingles, or wooden boards and that they were required to be of terracotta, slate, or metal (a repeated regulation from the previous building code).  Interestingly, pure white buildings were prohibited, and in general, buildings weren’t allowed to be so bright so as to create glare.  The vast majority of the Building Code instead focused on the planning of cities.

The National Building Code of 1874: Planning requirement
I’m guessing that the King and Lindhagen included the requirement that all cities were to draw up comprehensive city plans as a means to prevent the long, drawn out process of planning that Stockholm had suffered since the 1850’s.  The requirement for a Building Board as well as the specific protocols regulating how the Building Board was to operate were probably meant to prevent the likes of Stockholm’s planning gridlock where no city committee had clear authority or the budget to implement plans.  Without a plan or clearly defined Building Board, development in Stockholm had more or less stalled for decades, resulting in a huge housing crisis. 

Not only were cities now required to draw up a plan, but they were required to do it quickly: plans were to be submitted to the king for approval within a mere two years!  However, the comprehensive city plan was not required to cover existing areas of the city; instead, it was meant to guide new development.  Areas beyond the city plan were not allowed to be developed until a new city plan could be drawn up and approved by the king.  All future development was required to be according to the city plan.  

The goal of the city plans was to “correspond to traffic needs, space requirements and convenience; health’s requirements for light and fresh air; the desire for the highest possible level of security against widespread fires; and the sense of beauty’s requirement for free space, variation, and neatness.” In order to achieve these goals, the Building Code laid out specific requirements which were to be met in every city plan, ultimately controlling the plans’ content and the resulting appearance of every city in Sweden:

1) The plan was to include all blocks, streets, squares, and public spaces.

2) Squares, harbors, and other larger areas meant for high traffic flows were to be spacious and placed conveniently (“spacious” and “convenient” were not defined)
3) At least one (but hopefully several) wide esplanade with tree plantings in the middle and streets to either side was to be included in every plan (the purpose here was to create a fire break)
Narvavägen is one of Stockholm's esplanades corresponding to this provision of the National Building Code

4) Other planted areas, both large and small, were to be as abundant as possible
Vitabergsparken is one of Stockholm's characteristic parks

5) Streets were to be wide and laid out in appropriate directions.  The streets were to be at least 60’ or 18m wide (with some exceptions for 40’ or 12m wide streets).
6) Blocks should be just the right size, not too large and not too small.  Lots should not be too small so that air is not blocked from circulating, and the lots should be large enough to accommodate open and airy courtyards.  

7) Lots lines, wherever possible, were to be perpendicular to streets.  In order to meet this requirement, streets were de facto required to be perpendicular to each other.  Without specifically mentioning it, this Building Code required that cities be developed in a grid pattern.
8) Buildings were to be built at the lot line along the street.  
Buildings built to the lot line at the street along Upplandsgatan and Roslagsgatan

9) Where desired and appropriate, narrow gardens between the street and building line can be designated in certain areas.  These gardens were to be fenced from the street.
Karlsbergvägen is one area of Stockholm with small gardens between the buildings and the street

10) Corner buildings were to have symmetrically rounded or faceted corners and the cut plane of the rounding or faceting was to be a minimum of 8’or 2.4m wide 
Rounded and faceted corners

11) Residential buildings were to be maximum 5 stories tall, and their max height was to be the street’s width plus 5’ or 1.5m.  An attic with a fireplace was considered to be a floor.  The back courtyard building was to be a maximum of 4 stories and the maximum height corresponded to the courtyard’s width.  These maximum heights were to the roof line, not the peak. 
12) The minimum interior ceiling height was 9’or 2.7m. 
13) Buildings with a wooden structure had to be built at least 15’ or 4.5m from neighboring buildings, drastically limiting their potential size.  Buildings with a brick or stone structure could be built right up to neighboring buildings.  (Stockholm had been outlawing flammable wooden buildings for centuries without success.  This provision was a smart way to make developers want to build in safer materials.)
14) The area of the courtyard was to be at least 50% of the lot’s building footprint.  The courtyard was to be at least 40’or 12m wide between the street and back courtyard building (although small parts of the courtyard were allowed to be as narrow as 15’ or 4.5m.)
15) Courtyards and the narrow gardens between street and building line were to remain unbuilt.  It was hoped that these courtyards would be planted.
Two Stockholm courtyards.  The building to the right is a courtyard building and demonstrates the 4 story limit for courtyard buildings.

16) The plans were to be drawn up with rainwater in mind—water was to drain naturally away from streets and squares and from courtyards and lots to public sewer pipes.

The National Building Code of 1874: Significance

Lindhagen’s work on Stockholm’s plan was hugely influential in the 1874 National Building Code.  This code was in turn hugely influential in the development of all other Swedish cities.  In this roundabout way, the 1866 Lindhagen Plan for Stockholm ended up influencing all of Sweden.

One of the most important changes between the Building Code of 1842 and this new updated Building Code of 1874 was the increase in maximum building height from 4 to 5 stories.  This increased density was probably partly in response to the nation’s housing crisis as well as to pressure from developers to make new development more profitable.  This increase in building height was too early to be influenced by new building science.  The resulting increase in density had long-lasting effects on everything from the types of commercial activity that neighborhoods could support to the layout of public transportation stops.  (As a side note, I find it interesting that there was a NATIONAL maximum building height.  No residential building in the entire nation was allowed to be higher.)
These buildings on Cardellgatan show the difference in scale between the earlier 4 story limitation and the new 5 story limitation.

While Lindhagen’s Building Code had very few specific guidelines pertaining to style or aesthetics, he did place huge importance on the spatiality of the street environment by regulating the proportion between street width and building height.  And by regulating both the maximum building height and the minimum interior ceiling height, the building code ensured a uniform cornice line from one building to the next along an entire streetscape.  This uniformity is extra evident when the street is flat and does not slope.
Uniformity on Upplandsgatan

The provision for rounded or faceted corners resulted in one of Stockholm’s trademark aesthetics.  I have never experienced a city with such a consistent design element spanning both geography and time.  Architects dreamed up thousands of variations, and these corners became a way to distinguish one building from the next, one block from the next, one century from the next.  The rounded and faceted corners became small, neighborhood landmarks and the visual accent of each block.  Additionally, these rounded and faceted corners give the dense, gridded city fabric small but frequent breaks, making the city feel much more airy and open than it would otherwise be.
Some relatively meek rounded and faceted corners
Some more pronounced rounded corners
Even buildings built in the 70's had faceted corners.  By this time, however, the stories above the street were not required to be faceted, and the result much more subtle.  These corners are not nearly as visually interesting as the earlier corners which were faceted along the entire building, and they do not create the same kind of break in the city fabric as the earlier facets.

Stockholm’s Building Code of 1876
Not only did Lindhagen write the National Building Code, but he also wrote Stockholm’s new building code, updating it to be in accordance with the national standards.  Many of the provisions were about ensuring fire safety:
1) Firewalls between directly adjacent buildings were required
2) Ceilings were to be of gips, not wood
3) Stairs were not allowed to be of wood and were required to be of stone or iron
4) In addition , there were pages of regulations about chimneys and fireplaces
5) Specific regulations for factories
One of the provisions was a requirement for gutters and drainpipes.  It’s unfathomable now but just imagine how drippy a city sidewalk would be without gutters!

More interestingly, a few specific provisions in the Stockholm code allowed the city to develop its own slight flavor, differentiating it from other Swedish cities:

1) In addition to the national provision that limited residential buildings to 5 stories, the Stockholm code limited all types of buildings to 65’or 19.8m in height.  The exceptions were churches and public buildings, which were allowed to be higher. 
2) The maximum roof angle was 45 degrees, further limiting building height
3) Bridges between buildings over streets was no longer permitted
4) Balconies were allowed to jut out over the property line over public sidewalks (maximum of 4’or 1.2m in width, with a minimum clearance over the sidewalk of 14’or 4.3m)

The Stockholm code also repeated many of the regulations in the National Building Code such as faceted corners and a right-angled street grid.  It’s as if these components of city-building were so important that Lindhagen didn’t want there to be any chance of them being forgotten.

Of the specifically Stockholm regulations, I find the height limitations to be most significant.  The height limitations on all other buildings ensured that churches and important public building would literally stick up out of the crowd.  Residential buildings would form the consistent, muted background of the city while the churches and important public buildings would become the literal and figurative high points in the cityscape through both their more lavish design and their height.

The groundbreaking element of the National Building Code of 1874 was the requirement that all cities must plan, and that no development was allowed to occur outside of these plans.  The city government was thus given full authority and control over what would be built, where it would be built, and how it would be built.  From 1874 on, it was self-evident that cities would plan future development and that cities would have control over what was built.  Of course, reality never fully corresponds to the law, but this was a huge step forward.  When this law was drawn up, there wasn’t even a planning profession, and now planning had become a municipal responsibility!

For Stockholm, these Building Codes were the foundation for the creation of a relatively uniform and understated but very beautiful cityscape.  Later on, the uniformity resulting from the Lindhagen Plan and these Building Codes would be criticized, but this uniform, gridded background was an important counterpoint for future areas which would deviate in scale and design. 

The 1874 National Building Code: 
The 1876 Stockholm Building Code:
Thomas Hall, Huvudstad i Omvandling (2002)
Peter Lundewall, Stockholm den planerade staden (2006)
Alla Tiders Stockholm (2014)

All images are my own.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Lindhagen Plan

In two of my recent posts, I’ve written about how mid-nineteenth century Stockholm was grappling with the question of if the city needed a comprehensive plan, and if so, what that plan might look like.  The first comprehensive proposal was rejected, not because it lacked vision and common sense (which it did), but because the public works department  didn’t want to be told what to do—instead, the department decided to make its own comprehensive plan. 

Wallström and Rudberg’s plan had admittedly lacked a sense of hierarchy as well as a sense of higher purpose.  The plan was too detail-oriented with clumsy junctions and connections between important thoroughfares.  W&R’s plan ignored critical topographical features and made no apologies about erasing other significant landmarks in the landscape.  The committee also criticized the plan because it had (purposefully) overlooked the oldest, most entrenched parts of the city.

In 1864, there was no such profession as city planning.  Lindhagen, the committee’s president, was a lawyer.  Other committee members included Ekman and Hawerman who were architects, Leijonacker who was a military engineer, and Alm who was a builder.  Although Lindhagen was professionally the least suited to the task, he was definitely the group’s leader and much of the plan’s visionary nature seems to have stemmed directly from him; today the plan bears his name.      

Overarching Concepts
Many features of the Lindhagen Plan are recycled from Wallström and Rudberg’s plan, but the Lindhagen committee’s major contributions were an overarching concept and a Stockholm-based design.  Lindhagen’s starting point was movement into and through the city, and the plan’s focus was a hierarchical system of streets that would provide for natural, efficient traffic flow (without the awkward junctions from W&R’s plan).  While beautification doesn’t seem to have been an explicit goal, the avenues and boulevards weren’t merely meant to expedite the flow of traffic, but they were also meant to serve as arteries circulating light and air through the city.  The airy, tree-lined boulevard system was by default a beautiful counterpoint to the city’s older, narrower street grid.
Lindhagen's boulevard system.  Red = built more-or-less as planned.  Orange = unbuilt.

There were plenty of contemporary examples of European cities building new, modern boulevard systems.  Vienna’s ring boulevard replaced the outdated ring wall fortifications and Haussman’s boulevard system in Paris are but two of the era’s most famous examples.  Lindhagen’s boulevards were well within the prevailing contemporary ideal, but Lindhagen gave his system a specific, Stockholm-based flavor.  While Paris’s boulevards lead to specific monuments, public places, or important buildings, Stockholm’s boulevard system ends at green areas or at the water and lead to views of nature.  Lindhagen recognized Stockholm’s unique adjacency to relatively undisturbed natural areas as well as the unique omnipresence of water, and the plan purposefully wove bustling city and restorative nature together.   
Lindhagen's boulevards don't lead to monumental buildings or squares; instead they lead to nature and water.

Connecting Future Suburbs to the City

One of the most forward-thinking aspects of Lindhagen’s plan was that it allowed for direct, convenient connections from the surrounding countryside into the city.  In our era of superhighways, such direct connections seem like a city-planning given, but one look at Wallström and Rudberg’s earlier plan shows that that was not the case.  W&R seem to have thought of Stockholm in a bubble; Lindhagen planned Stockholm in relation to its surroundings.  While Lindhagen was probably designing connections to distant towns and for the transportation of food and supplies into the city from farms, the direct connections that Lindhagen planned ended up dictating the location of future suburbs.  
Lindhagen's suburban access.  Red = built more-or-less as planned.  Orange = unbuilt (as planned).

Suburban access as built

From the west, Bromma was to be connected to the city with an arrow-straight boulevard across Kungsholmen.  This would become the future street Drottningholmsvägen.  At a traffic circle and major junction at Fridhemsplan, the boulevard would kink northward a bit and head straight into downtown. Both sections of this connection across Kungsholmen would cut across the island’s street grid at a diagonal, but only the more out-of-town section was built. 
The eastern section of Drottningholmsvägen is a distinct city boulevard, but west of Fridhemsplan it quickly becomes a suburban highway.

Travelers from Solna and Uppsala to the northwest were to be connected to Sveavägen, the city’s grandest boulevard and an arrow-straight shot from the water at Brunnsviken down to the Royal Palace across the water in the Old Town Gamla Stan.  The 70 meter-wide avenue, Sveavägen, was to be Stockholm’s Champs-Elysees and run parallel to the city’s street grid through the entire city. 
This grandiose boulevard was the one exception to Lindhagen’s rule that boulevards would offer vistas of natural areas instead of buildings, but he was not the first to propose it—Sveavägen and its terminus at the Royal Palace had been envisioned several times throughout history at least since Jean de la Valle’s proposal in the 1600’s.  This street was eventually built, but it was never as grandiose as planned (as planned it would have eradicated both Aldolf Fredrik’s Church and the market square Hötorget) and it was never extended all the way through to the palace. 
Aldolf Fredrik’s Church and the market square Hötorget were not demolished to make way for a wider Sveavägen

From Roslagen to the north, travelers were to be funneled into town along a new, arrow-straight avenue  almost paralleling the city’s most grandiose boulevard.  This avenue would replace a natural but stinking creek, Rännilen, and lead directly to an enlarged Berzelii park and the water at Nybroviken.  Birger Jarlsgatan was built, but not as a straight shot from suburb to water as envisioned.
Birger Jarlsgatan and Nybroviken

From the east and the large island of Lidingö, travelers would enter the city at a traffic circle at Karlaplan and then continue toward downtown on a boulevard cutting diagonally across Östermalm’s street grid.  Because Östermalm was getting built out at such a frenetic pace and the planning office couldn’t wait for a decision on a city-wide, comprehensive plan, this diagonal avenue was left out of the short-sighted, stop-gap plan that dictated Östermalm’s growth.  (I will cover this plan more in depth in another post.)  The route in from Lidingö ended up being built as more of a ring road, part of which has recently been dug into a tunnel. 

Travelers from Nacka to the southeast would connect via a bridge at Danstull to the blasted, filled-out highway Stadsgården.  The waterside avenue would continue around the north side of Södermalm, becoming today’s Söder Mälarstrand.  This route was built according to Lindhagen’s plan.
Stadsgården and Söder Mälarstrand

From Årsta to the south, Götgatan would be widened and extended to a bridge at Skanstull.  This was built, and would eventually even became a highway tunneling under the island of Södermalm.
Götgatan leading south (toward today's Globen arena)
Hornsgatan was to be extended to link up with a bridge from the southeast and Liljeholmen.  This connection had also been drawn by Wallström and Rudberg.  As built, this connection ended up involving a ninety degree turn, but the general idea was carried out none-the-less.  

All of these connections into the city ended up being of utmost important in the city’s future expansion.  Every single one of the city’s current suburbs uses one of these connections into the city, and in some cases, even the subway follows these routes.     

Street Grid and Blocks
Like Wallström and Rudberg’s plan, the Lindhagen plan basically extends the existing 17th century network of street grids out to the city’s judicial boundary.  Since Örnehufvud’s plan of 1636, different districts have had differently angled grids radiating out from the Royal Castle, and natural features such as the steep Brunkeberg ridge and the no longer visible creek Rännilen served as the boundaries between districts.  
Radial streets according to Örnehufvud’s plan of 1636
Lindhagen’s plan extends these grids with one exception: he decided that both the eastern and western parts of Norrmalm should follow the same grid despite the Brunkerberg ridge.  While Lindhagen accommodated exisitng streets according to the 17th century radial plan, new streets in eastern Norrmalm were to follow western Norrmalm’s grid.  The grid in this part of the city was built according to Lindhagen's plan.
Radial Streets in Norrmalm with two slightly shifted grids according to the 17th century plan.  Later development simplified into one grid.

There is a good bit of variation of block size throughout the city.  While some new areas have uniform blocks, other block sizes vary quite a lot—some are square, some are long and narrow, some are quite large.  Blocks that are adjacent to existing blocks or to the water or to the city’s boundary have an irregular form.  I’m not really sure why Lindhagen drew so many different block sizes, but I’m guessing that the variation resulted from practical constraints more than aesthetics. 

Each square of the right-angled grid was envisioned as a closed block with continuous facades completely enclosing the block.  Except in a few outer areas, building facades were to be at the street and lot line.  Both the northern half of Norrmalm and the western part of Kungsholmen were to have narrow gardens between the street and the facade, but even these blocks were to be completely enclosed by buildings.  These gardens were envisioned as a part of the arterial network of green spaces bringing fresh air from the countryside into the city.
While some areas of the city do have narrow strips of garden between building and street, it is not nearly as widespread as Lindhagen's plan called for; with a couple of exceptions, these narrow street gardens are mostly in different areas than the more "suburban" areas on the outskirts of Lindhagen's plan.

Boulevards Through and Around the City
The street grid was to march steadily across the city, but Lindhagen provided for a good bit of relief and variation to break off the potentially monotonous pattern.  I don’t actually think that Lindhagen’s aim with all of the diagonal boulevards was for variation—instead, he was aiming for efficient traffic circulation—but the tree-lined boulevards did provide a break from the repetitive grid none-the-less. 

Because these boulevards were to serve a double purpose, both to efficiently siphon out-of-town traffic into the city and to efficiently circulate the traffic throughout the city, I have already mentioned many of Lindhagen’s boulevards above.  However, it is worth going through them again and looking more closely at how they relate to the city as opposed to outlying areas.  
Lindhagen's boulevard system.  Red = built more-or-less as planned.  Orange = unbuilt.
The boulevard system as built

The thoroughfare leading in to town from Bromma was to be an arrow-straight boulevard across western Kungsholmen (Drottningholmsvägen).  At a traffic circle and major junction at Fridhemsplan, the boulevard would change character to a narrower avenue and kink northward a bit to head straight toward a bridge over Klara Canal toward downtown and the existing street Kungsgatan.  Kungsgatan would be significantly widened and would pass by a new central food market and continue through downtown.  The avenue would (magically) pass through the Brunkeberg ridge, over the Champs-Elysees-like Sveavägen, kink again, and then head diagonally across Östermalm.  At the park-like traffic circle of Karlaplan, the avenue would continue out of town toward the island of Lidingö.
Lindhagen's proposal vs. Today's reality

The park/traffic circle at Karlaplan was the only one of Lindhagen’s planned circles to actually be built, but it is not connected to these Bromma-to-Lidingö boulevards as planned. 
The connection across Kungsholmen toward Bromma was built, but the rest of the avenue cutting across downtown and Östermalm was not built.  Instead, traffic from Bromma must make two 90 degree turns in order to continue into town and to Kungsgatan.  Kungsgatan was widened, and it did eventually cut through the Brunkeberg ridge, but it was never extended across Östermalm.
The older section of Kungsgatan and the more modern section breaking through the Brunkeberg ridge (the bridge is for a street atop the ridge)

On the northern side of Kungsholmen, a wide avenue would follow the waterline of Klara Canal.  A similar wide avenue would also follow the north shore of the canal on the mainland.  Uncharacteristically for Lindhagen, these avenues would peter out onto narrower streets.  These avenues weren't built as planned, perhaps because they weren't all that well planned in the first place.

Another important East-West thoroughfare was the tree-lined boulevard leading from Karlberg Palace into the middle of Norrmalm.
Lindhagen's proposal vs. Today's reality
This boulevard became Karlbergsvägen and was built almost as planned.  
Karlbergsvägen would meet up with a new major east-west thoroughfare at a new park; this second thoroughfare became today’s Odengatan.  
Odengatan marched across the entire Norrmalm district to end at a park in Östermalm.  A variation of Karlbergsvägen had been shown by Wallström and Rudberg, but they didn’t draw an avenue similar to Odengatan.

Interestingly, Lindhagen did not allow for any major public space where the two thoroughfares met up, but the triangle-shaped Odenplan was left open except for a large church occupying the center of the space.  Lindhagen did plan for a new parish church in approximately this location, but not for the open junction.
Odenplan and Gustaf Vasa Church

A third east-west thoroughfare was planned to cut across Kungsholmen and connect to lower Norrmalm and then to march across downtown.  
Lindhagen's proposal vs. Today's reality
From Kungsholmen’s northwestern shore (the water here is called Ulvsunda Lake but it’s really just a large bay in Lake Mälaren), a tree-lined boulevard (approximately today’s tree-lined Lindhagensgatan, named after Lindhagen himself) would cut diagonally across the island and connect to a tree-lined boulevard following Kungholmen’s southern shore (today’s Norr Mälarstrand).
Lindhagensgatan and Norr Mälarstrand
The boulevard would then connect to a bridge over Klara Canal to the traffic junction at Tegelbacken.  From there, existing streets would be widened to accommodate the new through-avenue which would cross the grandiose boulevard Sveavägen, cross the park Kungsträdgården, and end at Berzelii Park and the new Birger Jarlsgatan avenue.  A more kinked version of this thoroughfare had been drawn by Wallström and Rudberg, and while parts of the scheme were built, the connections were never realized.   

On the island of Södermalm, a ring boulevard would connect the freshwater of Lake Mälaren to the salt water of the Baltic Sea.
Lindhagen's proposal vs. Today's reality
This ring street was very similar to Wallström and Rudberg’s proposal, but instead of starting and ending at the steep, hilly parks of Skinarviksberget and Vita Bergen, Lindhagen’s tree-lined boulevard would somehow magically cut through the steep elevation differences to the water.  Lindhagen’s proposal was generally much more realistic in regard to topography than W&R’s plan, but this was one example where the Lindhagen plan ignores topographical realities.  Today, Ringvägen more-or-less dead ends into the parks like W&R’s proposal.

I have already written about the widened Hornsgatan and the widened Götgatan to connect with Liljeholmen and Årsta respectively, but yet another east-west thoroughfare in Lindhagen’s plan was to widen the existing street Folkungagatan.  This avenue would connect the harbor and industrial area at Tegelviken and shoot straight across the island to the water of Årsta Bay.  This was another connection from salt to sweet water across the island of Södermalm, and it was also shown in Wallström and Rudberg’s plan.
Lindhagen's proposal vs. Today's reality
While Folkungagatan did become a major thoroughfare from the harbor at Tegelviken, it was never extended across the western half of the island.
Folkungagatan and Tegelplan where Folkungagatan meets the sea (to the right of the photo)

Both the north and south shores of Södermalm would also be lined with wide avenues. 
Lindhagen's proposal vs. Today's reality
These were much like W&R’s plan, and like the waterside avenues on either side of Klara Canal, these on Södermalm have a bit of an indistinct character and peter out on one side without connecting to another major thoroughfare.  Söder Mälarstrand on the north side of the island would be built, but the shore was never developed on the south side of the island along Årsta Bay.
Söder Mälarstrand did become a thoroughfare, but the southern side of the island was left undeveloped.
I have already covered two of the most important north-south thoroughfares of Lindhagen’s plan, but there were several more.  From the southern shore of Kungsholmen, a new avenue would cross the island, cross a bridge over Klara Canal to the mainland, and continue northward into Vasastan.  At a large traffic circle, one could choose to continue northward and connect to Karlbergsvägen, turn onto Odengatan, or head southeast into downtown along a new avenue eventually connecting to the parade boulevard Sveavägen.
Lindhagen's proposal vs. Today's reality

The southern part of St. Eriksgatan is much more of a neighborhood street than a thoroughfare, but northern St. Eriksgatan is a major thoroughfare today and corresponds to this part of Lindhagen’s plan. 
St. Eriksgatan.  To the left/south, a neighborhood scale.  To the right/north, scaled as an avenue, but without the trees.
Instead of a traffic circle, the square and junction of St. Eriksplan serves the same purpose of connecting  Karlbergsvägen, Odengatan, and Torsgatan which does head south into downtown.
St. Eriksplan
However, Torsgatan was never directly connected to Sveavägen as in Lindhagen’s plan.

Like Wallström and Rudberg, Lindhagen also proposed that the square of Kungsholmstorg would continue northward as a wide avenue and terminate in a park.  This was never realized.
Kungsholmstorg and Scheelegatan which wasn't widened into an avenue.

On the northern edge of town, a tree-lined ring boulevard would follow the city’s boundary line (which until recently had also been a toll fence).  Wallström and Rudberg had also drawn a ring boulevard, although their version had far more traffic circles.
While this ring boulevard was built, the western edge was built as more of a regular city street than as a stately boulevard.
Norra Stationsgatan, to the right on a neighborhood scale instead of an avenue or boulevard.
 On the east side of town, Valhallavägen
was extended farther out of town than the toll fence, and Oxenstiernsgatan became the edge instead of the old toll boundary at Narvavägen.

Lindhagen’s plan shows a clear hierarchy of streets.  Grandest is the Champs-Elysees-wide Sveavägen at 70 meters in breadth.  Several tree-lined boulevards were planned to be 40 meters wide.  Avenues were about 30 meters wide, and “regular” city streets were of varying smaller widths.  While the street widths do correspond to expected traffic density, Lindhagen’s boulevards aren’t only meant for rush-hour traffic.  They are also meant for strolls, for pumping clean air into the city, and for providing a green counterpoint to the dense city.

The plan calls for the widening of a number of existing streets.  In order to keep costs down, Lindhagen proposed that one side of the street would be kept and that the street would be widened only in one direction.  The city would not force the widening (thus having to spend a lot of money all at one time to buy the new rights to the needed land) but all new buildings built along the street would be built at the new lot line.  The street would thus be widened successively, over time.

The Waterfront
Like Wallström and Rudberg, Lindhagen proposed that every single bit of waterfront would be made public.  The city would buy all the land closest to the water and fill out the shoreline to make smooth, continuous quays and streets.  Stone quays would stabilize the entire shoreline (except for western Kungsholmen) and create stately waterside promenades.  This is perhaps one of the most important contributions from both plans—taking the shore from private owners and giving it to the people.
Stone quays by the Opera and at Nybroviken

Lindhagen also recognized that the omnipresence of water was one of Stockholm’s most striking and most unique features, and he planned the water as handsome “objectives” or ending points for his avenues and boulevards.  One promenades toward the water and then is able to walk alongside it on the public quaysides.
Lindhagen's boulevards don't lead to monumental buildings or squares; instead they lead to parks, water, and nature.

The quays were also pragmatic—the city already had lots of boat traffic, for the transport of both goods and of people, and stone quaysides were much more practical than muddy embankments.  Solid quays also allowed for railroad spurs for the transportation of goods to and from the harbors.  Filling out the land to make smooth shorelines was also a good opportunity for creating wide streets with good traffic flow in an otherwise dense city.
New quaysides proposed in the Lindhagen Plan

Lindhagen’s dual attitude toward the waterfront—he saw it both as a romantic feature and as a utilitarian link in the city’s infrastructure—has flavored much of Stockholm’s city planning ever since, and the pendulum continues to swing between function and feature.

Lindhagen didn’t leave a lot of open, market or square-type spaces in his plan.  He wrote that open spaces “might give a pleasant impression, but in a city plan they have little meaning compared to streets which create a well thought-out, complete system of communication.”  In other words, while Lindhagen was obviously impressed by Paris’ Champs-Elysees, he wasn’t enamored of Places Vendome.

However, Lindhagen’s plan does have numerous parks and green spaces.  Even several existing open plazas such as Norrmalmstorg and Tegelbacken were re-envisioned with formal gardens.  Like Wallström and Rudberg’s plan, the majority of Lindhagen’s parks are on hard-to-build upon areas with steep topography and bulbous outcroppings of granite.  These high spaces also had the benefit of having great views and cleaner air.  Large swaths of the outer areas of the city like western Kungsholmen and western Vasastan near Karlberg Palace were left completely undeveloped—I think that Lindhagen just couldn’t envision that the city would ever stretch out so far.
Lindhagen's city parks.  Red = parks today.  Orange = other use today.

On Kungsholmen, the Lindhagen plan leaves both steep Kronoberg and the cliffs at Kungsklippan as parks.  Kronoberg did in fact become a park,
Kronobergsparken rising above the surrounding neighborhood.

but Kungsklippan was eventually built upon.
Stairs up to and buildings on the high area of Kungsklippan

In Norrmalm och Vasastan, all of today’s parks were envisioned by Lindhagen including Vasaparken,
Vasaparken rising above the neighborhood.

Left: Observatorielunden is atop Brunkeberg ridge.  Right: view from Observatorielunden.
Left: view from Vanadislunden.  Right: green Vanadislunden.
and Bellvue.  
Left: the ridge of Bellvue.  Right: View from Bellvue.
Lindhagen had an additional park at Sabbatsberg where a modern hospital was eventually built.
The grounds of Sabbatsberg hospital are very green and parklike, but the area isn't officially a park.

Today’s park Tegnerlunden was the site of a new church in Lindhagen’s Plan (a replacement for Adolf Fredrik which would be demolished to make way for the extra-wide Sveavägen, but Sveavägen was never made so wide that the church had to be demolished). 
Tegnerlnden rising above the surrounding streets

In Östermalm, Humlegården was left unbuilt and it was also connected to the large green spaces north of the city in Norra Djurgården with an extensive green wedge of park.  Humlegården remains today but the wedge was not left as park.

Extensive areas of western Södermalm such as Tanto, the area where the Söder Hospital is today, and Högalidsparken were to be left as open green spaces.
Söder Hospital
All of these sections are steep and bulbous, and Lindhagen was probably leaving them unbuilt due to a combination of their topography and because they were way out on the outskirts of the city.  Tanto
and Högalid are parks today.

Even though he cut through the cliffs at Skinnarviksberget, he left the surrounding areas as parks, and they remain so today.
A very steep slope leading down to the water was left unbuilt as well as two large blocks south of the Southern train station.  The area next to the train station was actually swampy instead of steep and bulbous, but this park had been called for since Bildt’s first plan requirements.
Fatbursparken near the old Southern train station.

On the eastern side of Södermalm, the high, steep areas of Mosebacke, Ersta, Vitabergen, Åsöberget, and Fåfängen were to be left open as green parks.  Mosebacke became an entertainment terrace,
Moseback terrace and view from the terrace
 Ersta became a hospital, 
Left: Looking up to the Ersta Hospital grounds.  Right: View from the Ersta Hospital grounds with hospital chapel belltower in foreground.
and Åsöberget was never cleared of its small-scale worker’s housing,
Worker's housing on Åsöberget

but both Vitabergen
and Fåfängen are parks today.

The unbuildable terrain was definitely a contributing factor, but Lindhagen’s other motive for proposing such a large number of green spaces was that he believed that parks should be near to all and available to all.  He felt that parks were a necessary, healthy contrast to the chaos of city life and wrote that “countryside-like nature has beneficial effects”.  Not just wealthy flâneurs should have access to the parks, but they were just as or perhaps even more important for the poor.

At the same time as the Lindhagen plan seems to advocate for the poor with park access, it also displaces them.  Despite being hard to develop, these high, rocky places were not devoid of housing—indeed, these areas had long been Stockholm’s shantytowns and housed a huge number of poor in small, ramshackle cottages.  Lindhagen’s park system cleared many of these heights of the more-or-less illegally-built but long-tolerated cottages.  A few examples, such as Åsöberget and the edge of Skinnarviksberget, were allowed to remain and give glimpses of what all of these high areas once looked like.  
Worker's housing at Åsöberget and Skinnarviksberget

While Lindhagen did propose a few more formal gardens downtown, the other parks were to have the “natural” lines of English gardens.  These natural lines were felt to be important for the relaxation process.

Lindhagen envisioned the tree-lined boulevards and the parks as forming a coherent system of green spaces throughout the city.  Even the narrow gardens between street and building on the outskirts of the city were seen as parts of this green system.  Just about every park was “extended” throughout the entire city by means of the boulevards and the narrow street-front gardens. 


Markets in the Lindhagen plan were even more scarce than in Wallström and Rudberg’s plan.  Like W&R, Lindhagen proposed a new market hall near the central train station, but instead of having its own square and transport canal, Lindhagen’s proposal was that the market would share the square in front of the train station.  In Östermalm, Lindhagen’s proposal was for a market hall near the water adjacent to Berzelii Park instead of being embedded in the fabric of the neighborhood.  This was a very formal and prominent placement, and the Royal Theater ended up being built in that location instead.  Like W&R, Lindhagen thought that a food market should share the square by the Southern railroad station.  The entire island of Kungsholmen and all of Vasastan were planned without markets.
Lindhagen's scant proposal for markets.  Red = a market was eventually built near the proposed location.  Orange = there used to be a series of market halls near the central station, but they have since been demolished.
Other Amenities

In addition to markets, Lindhagen planned the location of new parish churches.
Churches according to the Lindhagen plan.  Blue = already in existance at the time of the plan.  Red = built more-or-less as planned.  Orange = unbuilt.

Stockholm's churches today.  Blue = already in existance at the time of the Plan.  Red = built more-or-less according to the Lindhagen Plan.  Orange = built after the Lindhagen Plan and not included on in the Plan.

There was to be a new church in Norrmalm to replace Aldolf Fredrik’s Church that would have to be demolished to make way for Sveavägen (not built since Aldolf Fredrik was never demolished), one on Kungsholmen adjacent to Kronoberg Park (a church was built near here but it is more of a coincidence as it is not part of the national Swedish Church), one in the middle of Vasastan (near the location of today’s Gustaf Vasa Church at Odenplan), one on a steep hill in Östermalm (where St. Johannes is today), and one in the middle of Södermalm on another hilltop (Allhelgona or All Saints Church).
St'Johannes and Allhelgona churches
Aside from the three markets and the churches, Lindhagen did not designate the placement of any other significant public buildings.  No theaters, no museums, no government buildings, no monuments were planned to anchor vistas or boulevards.  Instead, Lindhagen intended Stockholm’s watery and green nature to provide the vistas.

Lindhagen did, however, designate an industrial district around Hammarby Lake.  This district is not visible on the map and is only defined in his written description of the plan.  Lindhagen described the lake as an industrial area “designated by nature.”  This area was already the site of several industries and the intensity of industrial development would only increase over the next ~70 years. 

Wallström and Rudberg’s plan was reviewed and rejected in 1864, and the Lindhagen Plan was published in 1866.  While W&R’s proposal had been positively received in the press, the Lindhagen Plan received mixed reviews.  Reviewers found the plan compelling, but it was seen as too grand and too expensive.  Unrealistic to say the least.  It’s an interesting attitude because it seems that the critics would rather have a cheaper but only half-functional plan than a visionary plan that would both beautify the city and make it more efficient for transport.  It was an incredibly short-sighted attitude that is unfortunately repeated again and again.

The city council dillydallied without making a decision on the plan for eight years.  They debated the pros and cons of the plan, but mostly they debated small, local details that were of (monetary) interest to themselves and not the plan’s vision.  It is worth noting that the current voting system was probably a major contributing factor to the delay—at the time, votes were weighted according to how much land one owned.  Huge landowners and building companies with large chunks of real estate probably had the most to loose with such a grandiose plan with such wide boulevards and avenues, and they were more interested in dividing their land into buildable lots than in a comprehensive plan for a functioning city.  These landowners had the most influence over the city council. 

Another reason for the delay is that the new system of city governance (local instead of royal) was still unproven and no one knew who had the right to decide on and carry out measures.  None of the departments had a budget or money to allocate. 

Another factor was that in the 1860’s, Sweden was experiencing an economic depression.  Not much was being built anyway, so the city council probably didn’t feel a lot of pressure to decide on a plan.  But by the 1870’s, the economy was in an upswing and Stockholm was experiencing a housing crisis.  While the large construction companies had blocked any action on the plan in the 1860’s, the changing market meant that they were clamoring for action by the 1870’s.  They were even trying to convince the city that despite the expense of expropriating land and building roads, carrying out the plan would be profitable for the city because of the increased tax base. 

But when the city council took up Lindhagen’s plan again in 1874, they still hemmed and hawed for another five years before deciding anything.  The city still didn’t have any civil servants to carry out the plan.  Also, the King had asked Lindhagen to draft an updated national building ordinance, and the city probably wanted to wait for the new legislation before voting for a plan that could soon be outdated.  I’ll be writing more about the 1874 National Building Ordinance and its influence in another post. 

Stopgap Measures
The King had grown fed up with Stockholm’s lack of interest in a comprehensive city plan and sent in Bildt to get the show on the road in 1862.  It took the city seventeen years to approve a plan, and in the mean time, the city was steadily expanding block by block.  In order to accommodate the growth, the city council was forced to create and approve plans for smaller areas of the city.  While some of the plans were small and relatively insignificant in the scheme of things, the plan for Östermalm (which I'll cover in a later post) was a shortsighted stopgap measure with consequences that still echo today.

In 1861, Wallström drew up plans for a private land owner to divide a large plot of land between the streets Döbelnsgatan and Luntmakaregatan into lots and two new cross streets (Rosengatan and Kammakargatan). 

While Kammakargatan was eventually extended as a cross street throughout the area, Rosengatan was never extended. 

This example clearly shows that planners weren’t quite sure what an appropriate block size should be.  Should they be square or should they be oblong?  The cross street Rosengatan divides the block into very small blocks, and it seems that the city was transitioning from the intimate scale of the 17th and 18th centuries to a more modern 19th century scale.
the short Rosengatan
Another example of a stopgap plan from 1873 was at the eastern edge of Humlegården park.  Here, a developer had bought a huge tract of land that needed to be subdivided into lots, blocks, and streets.  First, the developer asked the city to extend Sturegatan along the eastern edge of the park as planned.  The next step was to divide the extremely long block with cross streets to create more buildable street frontage.  Today’s Linnégatan, Cardellgatan, and Kommendörsgatan were the result.

These streets repeated the existing street grid and ended up setting the pattern for the newer blocks to the east.  The exception is Cardellgatan, which apparently was later deemed as unnecessary since it was left out of the newer blocks, except for half a block at Nybrogatan—I’m guessing that developers were originally counting on this street to continue across the neighborhood, but then it was later removed from the plans.
Left: The one block of Cardellgatan ending at the park.  Right: A piece of the planned Cardellgatan that doesn't cut through the entire block (? on map).

Yet another example, again from 1873, also resulted from the need to subdivide a larger tract of land into smaller blocks to create more street frontage and thus useable real estate.  At 17-19 Nybrogatan, the private developer planned to donate land to the city in order to create a cross street. 
Buildings were built facing onto the planned street, but the city never approved the subdivision of the block,  accepted the land, or built the street.  Today the street is an odd alley (though there’s a lot of untapped potential for an outdoor dining patio or an outdoor beer garden á la Munich...). 
The not-a-street at 17-19 Nybrogatan.

Teatergatan on Blasieholmen is another cross street from 1873 that was initiated by a builder instead of the city. 

Again, the street is only one block long and does not continue across the peninsula. 
Teatergatan looking toward the water at Nybroviken

These examples seem to point to a friction point between developers and the city council—what is the best balance between valuable street frontage and expensive street building / maintenance?  Between buildable area and larger central courtyards for light and air?  Even when the developers were willing to donate the land for a street to the city, the city wasn’t always willing to actually build and maintain a street.  At the same time, broad streets were in vogue.  It seems that the city planners were intuitively working toward a compromise with fewer but broader streets and larger interior courtyards.

The groundbreaking aspect of the Lindhagen plan was not the street grid—the plan is essentially a continuation of the city’s existing street grid from 1636—but in the overlay of a street hierarchy and thought-out connections into and through the city.  Efficient, direct transport into and through a city is such a foundational requirement of city planning today that it’s hard to appreciate that it was a new idea in the mid-1800’s.  The plan’s other main contribution to city-planning discourse was that it was distinctly flavored by Stockholm’s unique traits and geography.  While the plan wasn’t unlike the contemporary plans for Paris and Vienna, it did not directly copy those plans; instead of celebrating public monuments and institutions, the Lindhagen Plan celebrates Stockholm’s water and nature.

Lindhagen is given all the credit for Stockhom’s first comprehensive plan, but in reality, a very compromised version of the Lindhagen Plan was accepted and built out.  A good deal of Lindhagen’s visionary concepts were lost in the subsequent plans, and several of his grand thoroughfares were never realized.  For this reason, I would actually argue that Lindhagen’s National Building Ordinance and his resulting Stockholm Building Ordinance have had just as much (or even more) of a direct effect on the city than his plan (blog post coming soonish).  

I am going to cover the debates following Lindhagen’s Plan and the resulting implementation plans in another post, but the compromises were sometimes of a more practical nature (Is it really necessary to demolish an entire geological feature and a historic church in order to create a 70 meter-wide boulevard which isn’t even remotely appropriate to the scale of Stockholm?) and sometimes of a more stingy nature (why build a park-like boulevard when a narrow traffic artery will do?). 

At the turn of the 20th century, many criticized the monotony and repetitive nature of the Lindhagen plan.  If the plan had been fully carried out and all of the high, hard-to-build upon places were blasted and evened out as the Lindhagen plan seems to imply, the city would have been much poorer for it.  Luckily, many of these areas of geographical variation were quite tricky and expensive to blast and build upon, so they were left empty of development.  Later, when there was more pressure to exploit even these cumbersome areas, the planning cannon had changed and planners such as Hallman created curving streets that followed the geography.  These neighborhoods provide charming, smaller-scale counterpoints to the regular and dense street grid of Lindhagen’s Stockholm.  But in order for these neighborhoods to stand out, a consistent background was necessary.  And what a beautiful the Lindhagen plan provided!  

It’s heresy to write it, but I think that it is actually a good thing that Lindhagen’s Plan wasn’t implemented as drawn.  While his thoroughfares would certainly have made efficient paths through the city, I think that they would have made for a much more congested and car-centric city in the long run.  I can’t think of a single example where one of Stockholm’s traffic-oriented streets are more pleasant or make for a better city experience compared to the city’s pedestrian-scaled streets.

That said, I think that Lindhagen’s plan did secure a future for several of Stockholm’s best features including: the celebration of natural areas as necessary and self-evident  parts of the city; easy access to large tracts of nature outside of the city as well as to smaller, local city parks; a hierarchy and variation in street types; and public access and use of the entire waterfront.

Gösta Selling, Esplanadsystemet och Albert Lindhagen: Stadsplanering i Stockholm åren 1857-1887 (1970)
Thomas Hall, Huvudstad i Omvandling (2002)
Thomas Hall, Stockholm: The Making of a Metropolis (2009)
Peter Lundewall, Stockholm den planerade staden (2006)
Alla Tiders Stockholm (2014)
Magnus Andersson, Stockholm’s Annual Rings: A Glimpse into the Development of the City (1998)

All images are my own except for Lindhagen's plan drawings and the plan of Rosengatan which are from Gösta Selling, Esplanadsystemet och Albert Lindhagen: Stadsplanering i Stockholm åren 1857-1887 (1970)