Norrköping is the seat of Norrköping Municipality, situated in the province of östergötland in eastern Sweden. The city has a population of 83,561 inhabitants out of a municipal total of 127,059, making it Sweden's tenth largest city and eighth largest municipality. The city is situated by the mouth of a river, in an inlet of the Baltic Sea. The good harbor and water power from the river were factors that facilitated the rapid growth of especially textile industry in Norrköping. Of that reason, it has also been nicknamed “Sweden`s Manchester”. Today these river falls are one of the most important elements of a beautiful environment that is used for completely different purposes to the original ones. In less than 40 years Norrköping has changed from being one of Sweden’s most industrial cities to a knowledge city.
The transformation of Norrköping’s industrial landscape began with the city museum, Arbetets museum (Museum of Work) and a concert hall. That way culture assumed a definite, strong role in the transformation of Norrköping. In the mid 1990s, a part of Linköping University was established in the city. It changed the previously low level of education, and gave Norrköping new content in the form of five thousand students and a new institution in the city centre. The university has also effected the industrial landscape with new buildings, where one of the consistent approaches has been that these buildings must be made to seem like an addition to the existing cultural history.
In recent years, Norrköping has intensified its work with the region, in particular in partnership with Linköping, its neighbor forty kilometer away. In the early summer of 2010, both municipalities also adopted a joint general plan that emphasises the knowledge city perspective. The plan highlights in particular the importance of the attractive city center and high accessibility to green methods of communication in an extended labor market region.
The industrial landscape constitutes an attractive core with importance for the development of Norrköping into a knowledge city. Earlier this development mostly has been dealing with cultural and educational institutions. In recent years, the business community, in the form of service companies, has also sought out the area. At the moment, several knowledge-intensive companies and enterprises are moving to the industrial landscape from more peripheral locations. What should the Municipality of Norrköping do and how should the planning work with various social players take place to enhance Norrköping as a knowledge city?
A great deal of the first joint vision for the transformation of the industrial landscape in Norrköping has been realized. Future challenges are related to the fact that the area is well-populated during the day, but emptier in the evening. Almost no buildings are converted into residential housing, there is a lack of daily services, few eateries open in the evening, etc. Are there any more such possibilities? What is the vision for the industrial landscape in 2030 with Norrköping as a knowledge city in a conurbation with Linköping?
In the work on a joint general plan with the neighboring Municipality of Linköping, the prospect of an attractive knowledge city is highlighted. For Norrköping, this means that further details must be elaborated on the basis of the joint general plan on how the planning should continue to further enhance density, the mixture of functions and how the link to the travel centre should be developed.
Projects related to the knowledge city
Around ten years ago, a private property company bought a block of the industrial landscape from the municipality. By transforming it with a mixed-use model into homes, a school, offices and shops and retaining its historical values, Knäppingsborg has become a attraction and new meeting place in Norrköping.
- Ljura – Hageby – Navestad tram line
An extension of the tram system to the southern areas of the city is a part of a major urban development. The project also contains new development rights for homes along the public transport route, and the upgrade of the districts shopping centre in Hageby.
- Visualisation Centre C
The buildings, a former power station and a former wool-spinning mill, house a visualization dome, exhibitions and a restaurant, among other things. There are also premises for researchers and education at the university. The project visualizes the key words respect and imagination as the preserved buildings are linked by a modern connecting part. Adjacent to the centre, other buildings are being converted into offices and a film centre, Cnema. The latter is a cultural initiative by the municipality for film education purposes.