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Stockholm unveils latest pop-up park

Published måndag 16 maj 2016 kl 14.23
Pedestrian: "The street has always been a bit gray"
(3:14 min)
The new pop up park is just a stone's throw from Humlegården, a permanent park in the Stockholm neighborhood of Östermalm. Photo: Brett Ascarelli / Radio Sweden
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The new pop up park is just a stone's throw from Humlegården, a permanent park in the Stockholm neighborhood of Östermalm. Photo: Brett Ascarelli / Radio Sweden
Daniel Helldén, vice mayor in Stockholm and head of the traffic division, cuts the ribbon to inaugurate the pop up park, which stretches along 40 meters of Humlegårdsgatan, which will be closed to vehicle traffic until September 1. Photo: Brett Ascarelli / Radio Sweden.
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Daniel Helldén, vice mayor in Stockholm and head of the traffic division, cuts the ribbon to inaugurate the pop up park, which stretches along 40 meters of Humlegårdsgatan, which will be closed to vehicle traffic until September 1. Photo: Brett Ascarelli / Radio Sweden.
The park was made as a collaboration between the city of Stockholm and SEB Trygg Liv, which footed the bill for the street to be outfitted with benches. Tomas Krywult, who's in charge of SEB's real estate on the street, hopes the park becomes permanent. Photo: Brett Ascarelli / Radio Sweden
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The park was made as a collaboration between the city of Stockholm and SEB Trygg Liv, which footed the bill for the street to be outfitted with benches. Tomas Krywult, who's in charge of SEB's real estate on the street, hopes the park becomes permanent. Photo: Brett Ascarelli / Radio Sweden
A visitor helps herself to an hors d'oeuvres during the inauguration. Photo: Brett Ascarelli / Radio Sweden
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A visitor helps herself to an hors d'oeuvres during the inauguration. Photo: Brett Ascarelli / Radio Sweden
"Sture" was one of the park's visitors. Photo: Brett Ascarelli / Radio Sweden.
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"Sture" was one of the park's visitors. Photo: Brett Ascarelli / Radio Sweden.

The city of Stockholm inaugurated a "pop up park" on Monday, in the well-heeled neighborhood of Östermalm, where visitors can take a seat on wooden benches that will be installed there throughout the summer.

"We decided to make a friendlier Stockholm," Daniel Helldén, the vice mayor in charge of traffic, told Radio Sweden after he cut the ribbon that stretched across the street, Humlegårdsgatan.

To form the park, the city closed off to traffic 40 meters of Humlegårdsgatan, beginning at its junction with Sturegatan. From now until September 1, the street features pink and green-painted benches, outfitted with planters.

"I think it's fabulous - the colors," said one woman who was visiting the pop up park.

"This street has always been a bit gray, and you just passed," she said, adding, "I hope they'll continue further up."

But for now, it's only 40 meters long, due to transport limitations.

"We have some problems with the transport to the shops in here, so we couldn't do any more than [40 meters] this year, but we would like to have it go all the way up this street . . . It's a start," Helldén explained.

He also described how new rules have made temporary parks like this one possible.

"We have an initiative from the city that [allows] those who want to do a pop up park to be able to do it. It wasn't possible before. We have new rules in the city which makes this possible... the company here SEB Trygg Liv said they wanted to do this, and we said that's fine, just pick the street," said Hulldén.

According to Hulldén, the city is not paying anything for the park, but the company SEB Trygg Liv is paying to rent the street and it also paid to outfit it with the benches.

Tomas Krywult, who is responsible for the company's real estate, told Radio Sweden, "Of course, we want to have this street more active, that the restaurants and the stores open up, so we have more life on the streets."

Krywult hopes that it will help business, and also that the park will become permanent.

But with Humlegården, a major green park right across the way, is there really a need to close off a paved street for the sake of making another park?

"It's very busy over there, and the grass is not so nice to sit on when it's a bit rainy," Krywult replied with a laugh.

While reactions from pedestrians Radio Sweden spoke to were all positive, and many seemed to be enjoying the hors d'oeuvres that were being served, drivers who would have used this stretch of the street will now have to take another route.

Anders Porelius, the head of media at the traffic department in Stockholm, admits the park has an impact on traffic, but he says in their analysis, it will not be "that big" and that there is a small detour drivers can take.

"It's an impact that's necessary, I think, because the city is so much more than just roads and traffic and cars and stuff," he told Radio Sweden. "It needs to be a lot more."

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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