Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Live, Eat, Breathe IKEA at Strand East, an IKEA-Designed City

After yesterday’s post on IKEA homes, we learned that single, prefab homes and small developments were not quite enough for the furniture giant: IKEA has entered the business of city-making.

LandProp, IKEA’s property development arm, is developing a city called Strand East outside of London. According to Fast Company Co.Exist, the development:

Will feature 1,200 homes, 480,000 square feet of commercial office space, a ‘hub area’ with shared space for the community, a creative zone intended for creative-minded businesses to take root, a restaurant, a hotel, pedestrian walkways, cycle routes.

Other features include winding, car-free streets, similar to old European cities (and IKEA stores), and underground parking that will provide ample pedestrian space and safety. There will be a strong focus placed on culture, community, food and other quality-of-life boosters. Click on infographic below for other community features.

Like its furniture, IKEAville, um, Strand East, is focused on middle class affordability and lifestyle. 40% of homes will be family-friendly.

Project Manager Andrew Cobden told The Globe and Mail this:

We would have a fairly firm line on undesirable activity, whatever that may be. But we also feel we can say, okay, because we’ve kept control of the management of the commercial facilities, we have a fairly strong hand in what is said in terms of the activities that are held on site.

Similar to yesterday’s conversation about IKEA homes, where owners might trade personal touches for affordability, function and simplicity, residents of Strand East might trade ownership for a great living experience largely governed by LandProp.

The idea of housing-as-service runs counter to the American Dream, which is inseparable with home ownership, even when home ownership, on balance, is more headache than opportunity.

Strand East also presents the idea of privatized urban planning. IKEA is creating an ideal urban structure where government might not have the audacity or resources to do so.  But given that it’s a business, might their instinct to make money trump their civic responsibility?

We’ll have to wait and see. While the land has been purchased, the company is still getting their permits in order. LandProp is hoping to begin construction in 2013.

Via The Globe and Mail and Fast Company Co.Exist

  • geekstack

    Tens of millions of Americans live in master-planned suburban communities.  Everyone living there has to buy the whole bundle of goods – the house, the lot size and spacing, the community amenities, the HOA restrictions on modifying properties, etc. Even zoning is superseded because developers negotiate master planning agreements for the property.

    People love these and they have beaten one-off suburban development.  It would be nice to have more master-planned communities in the city.  River East in Chicago is a good example of the benefits of looking beyond one building at a time.

    • lifeedited

      thanks for this. do you know if these type of communities are rentals like strand east? 

      • geekstack

        They’re primarily owner-occupied housing, but that’s more a function of American suburbia (~70-80% owner occupied) vs urban (30-50%) ownership split.

        River East in Chicago has some rental towers, some condo.  It’s very expensive but it’s also brand new lakefront construction immediately adjacent to the business district.

        Some mixed-use suburban communities (Westchase in Tampa, Kentlands in Maryland, Daybreak in Salt Lake City, Celebration in Orlando, etc) mix light retail, office space, apartments, and houses, but these are the exception and can usually only be done in very desirable areas because of the unconventional planning and financing.  Conventional financing in the US = single use, segregated, no requirement to change zoning, undeviating from a pattern used thousands of times already.

        I didn’t see anything that in the Strand East about what portion would be rentals.  In urban US, I’d assume the breakdown would be 60% condo, 30% rental, 10% affordable housing mandate.

        • lifeedited

          i’ll look into these developments. indeed, american zoning seems beset with outdated code that inhibits innovation. in nyc where i live, there is an arcane set of code that deals with early 20th century, impoverished immigrant circumstances more than it does 21st century realities. 
          as for strand east, i suspect–though am not sure–that london is giving strand east some leeway in terms of zoning as this is a post-industrial east end part of the city as far as i can tell. they haven’t gotten approval to build either, so what is made and what is planned may vary. and the development is 100% rental. ikea basically wants to keep total control over how the city operates.

  • Nicole

    Do only 40% of people have children?  What happens when people “outgrow” these homes?