Gamlestadens Fabriker

Gothenburg, SE
Photo by Gamlestadens Fabriker
A place where history meets the future

Summary

Gamlestaden (the Old Town in English) is a former working-class neighbourhood in Gothenburg, filled with historic industrial buildings. Through adaptive re-use of these historic structures, complemented with new builds, a mixed-use neighbourhood is developed with particular attention to places for creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.

General

Country
Sweden
City
Gothenburg
Inhabitants
579.280
Scale
Neighbourhood
Situated
In city centre
Status
Ongoing

About

Gamlestaden (the Old Town in English) is a former working-class neighbourhood in Gothenburg. Over the centuries, it has become a conglomerate of historic industrial buildings that reflect the city’s industrial past. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the headquarters of the East Indian Company was housed in Gothenburg. Around the 1700s, the sugar industry settled in Gamlestaden. In 1733, a large sugar factory, nowadays the oldest remaining building in the area, was built. In 1835, activities in the sugar industry were replaced by the cotton industry. In the following decades, one of the largest spinning mills of Scandinavia would arise in the area. In the early 1900s, the area grew, with the car industry settling in the area. It is the place where the first Volvo car was manufactured.

With a crisis in the textile industry and modernisation needs from other sectors, much of the industrial activities moved away between the 1960s and the 1980s. Commissioned by the municipality, a start was made to demolish some abandoned buildings. High costs of this operation, in combination with a real estate crisis, put a hold on more demolishing activities. Nowadays, the remaining historic buildings are seen as a significant asset for redevelopment. Many of them, including the sugar factory, several spinning mills, the power plant and several workshops, are listed as municipal heritage. Moreover, Gamlestaden is built on top of remains of the late medieval city Nya Lödöse, providing the whole area with protected status under the Swedish law of ancient monuments. [1;5]

In 2006, plans were developed to regenerate the neighbourhood and repurpose the Gamlestadens Fabriker. By renovating and reutilising the former industrial buildings, Gamlestaden is being transformed into a 7,5-hectare mixed-use neighbourhood that can perform a central function for surrounding districts. Empty space between the historic buildings is filled with new-built structures that complement the old town character of the area. Squares and parks are designed to replace vast asphalted surfaces. Approximately 80% of the area is dedicated to a mixture of work, leisure, public services, culture and trade. For the remaining 20% of the area, around 300 houses are being planned. [2;3;4]

In redeveloping the area, special attention is paid to providing places for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. One of the initiatives operating from Gamlestadens Fabriker is YESBOX, an entrepreneurial district and incubator hub for entrepreneurs. It is a collaborative project, in light of the city-wide initiative ‘The entrepreneurial Gothenburg’, run by a network of organisations all involved in entrepreneurship, business development and innovation. This hub has already helped innovative enterprises in various sectors, including fashion, foods and arts, to establish themselves. [1;6]

Factsheet

Heritage utilized
Building(s) and/or monumental structures
Cluster
Cultural and Creative Industries
Themes
Creative industries; Housing; Public space

Governance

Property in the area is in the hands of different owners, with the biggest owner being Platzer, a locally operating real estate company. [2;3] A project team has been set up, including owners, an architectural practice and the City Planning Authority, to design the plan for the area’s regeneration. [5] In 2020, a new detailed plan for further development, mainly including sites in ownership of Platzer and the municipality, has been approved. [2;4] Development of buildings are done in cooperation with the municipality of Gothenburg and future tenants. [4]

Factsheet

Governance arrangement
Led by private sector
Organisational form
For-Profit Entity
Stakeholders involved in implementation
Local government; Private sector businesses

Business Model

It is unknown what has been invested in the renovation and re-use of the Gamlestadens Fabriker to date.

As the main owner of property in the area, Platzer gains income through rent from the renovated buildings and increased property value in the area. [4]

Factsheet

Initial investment
Unknown
Type of financial resources utilized
Unknown
Source of financial resources
Unknown
Non-financial contributions
Unknown

References

  1. Gamlestadens Fabriker, initiative website by Platzer, www-gamlestadensfabriker-se, accessed on 26/01/2022

  2. City of Gothenburg City Planning Office (2020), Detailed plan for The old town’s factories, available on docplayer.se/106304412-Detaljplan-for-gamlestadens-fabriker.html, accessed on 26/01/2022

  3. Platzer, organisational website, www.platzer.se/vara-omraden/gamlestaden/, accessed on 26/01/2022

  4. Platzer (2021), Interim Report 1 Jan – 31 March 2021, available on mb.cision.com/Main/8443/3329635/1404570.pdf, accessed on 26/01/2022

  5. European Association of Historic Towns and Regions (EAHTR) (2007), INHERIT – Investing in Heritage – A Guide to Successful Urban Regeneration, available on www.historic-towns.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Inherit-complete-doc-final-version-pdf-Layout-1-1.pdf, accessed on 26/01/2022

  6. YESBOX, initiative website, www.yesboxgoteborg.se/, accessed on 26/01/2022