Social housing residents enter the labor market
The Vivalla neighborhood in Örebro was originally built as part of the miljonprogrammet (Million Program) Swedish government public housing scheme in the late 1960s. Vivalla is an area of high unemployment and other social problems. Together with ÖrebroBostäder, Skanska has changed the entire character of the neighborhood – into a safer and more positive residential environment.
Skanska and ÖrebroBostäder initiated a strategic partnering agreement in 2012, which means that three blocks are refurbished and renewed.
The first phase of our work was completed in 2018. In the same year, a new collaboration agreement was signed for continued renovation and new construction of Vivalla. The project is expected to be completed by 2023. In addition to renovating approximately 400 apartments, Skanska will develop green spaces and meeting places in the area. Through dialogue with residents in the area, we will identify solutions creating a safer environment. The contract involves renovation, demolition, new construction and major changes in the outdoor environment. We continue our mission to develop Vivalla and create an attractive neighborhood where people want to live and work.
Three blocks - three different projects
The three blocks that were renovated in the first phase are called My Green Quarter, the Conservation Project and the Future Quarter. The changes to My Green Quarter were extensive. We have renovated, built new houses, demolished buildings and changed the outdoor environment. We have changed the character of the area and created a neighborhood feeling.
After working on the first quarters, we evaluated the project together with ÖrebroBostäder to determine what the Future Quarter would look like.
My Green Quarter
My Green Quarter received grants from the Sustainable Cities Delegation. Production started in June 2013 and we performed a large number of measures. The facades were renovated and the gables were insulated. We installed new windows, built light entrances, installed solar panels and built new roofs with sedum coating.
A more efficient heating and ventilation system contributes to the goal of making the houses more energy efficient than the building norm requires. In addition, we have built larger balconies and patios and installed security doors. We also carried out some pipe relining and replacement.
The outdoor environment has changed drastically. Two houses were demolished to create larger common areas where neighbors can socialize. We moved the entrances and built a street between the houses to create a natural meeting place for neighbors. There are larger play areas for the kids, and bike lanes lead through the area. The goal was to make the whole area feel safer and more pleasant.
The next block that was built was called the Conservation Project. Our assignment was to restore the neighborhood to what Vivalla looked like when it was built in the late 60's. Energy efficiency was important and we have used smart solutions from Our Green Quarter.
The neighborhood of the future
The neighborhood of the future is similar to the previous project, which means we could learn from our past experiences. This project includes six stages, where Skanska has contracts for the first three. A total of 400 apartments will be renovated. All six stages are planned to be completed by 2023.
ÖrebroBostäder plans to renovate the entire Vivalla neighborhood within the next 15-20 years. By doing a good job, we hope to get more assignments and continue to renew the area.
– We will create a benchmark for renovation of the public housing scheme from the 1960’s in Sweden. This is a project that real estate companies and construction companies all over Sweden will be interested in. We are the first to be a community builder for real, says Ulf Rohlén, CEO of ÖrebroBostäder.
Partnering leads to better results
Partnering involves open collaboration where all actors complement and assist each other throughout the entire construction process. It also requires great commitment from all involved, but leads to better renovated and new buildings.
The approach has led to several smart working methods and technical solutions, such as a smart heat recovery ventilation system.
Together with ÖreboBostäder, we manage the Resident Builders project where unemployed residents of Örebro are offered work placements. The objective of the initiative is to reduce segregation and offer participants a way into the labor market. So far about 60 unemployed individuals had a work placement with Skanska or one of our subcontractors. We are proud of our Resident Builder concept and intend to use it on future Skanska projects.
The more we work on this project, the more potential we see. We want to give the Resident Builders a chance to try the construction industry and help them find the right education. But there is also work in construction projects that does not require training. Demolition work or logistics work such as cleaning and residual product handling are examples where there is a chance of employment for someone who does a good job.
Our ambition is to get as many of the Resident Builders as possible into steady employment through work or education.
André Issa Gergi is one of the Resident Builders and works with the subcontractor Guja Riv- och Håltagning AB. He was a construction worker in Lebanon but has been unemployed in recent years in Sweden. André says:
- I was very happy to be selected. The project will help many, it is the biggest chance many people here can get. It is fun to work in your own neighborhood and see that something positive happens. Skanska is one of the best companies I have seen in Sweden. Everyone is nice, people are happy at work.
Energy efficient solutions better for the environment
Energy efficiency reduces the impact on the environment and lowers heating costs. The houses in Vivalla are more energy efficient than the building norm requires.
We also test the latest technology in a variety of climate-smart measures. We are testing a smarter FTX system where we preheat the outdoor air via ground heating holes in the ground. We have received development funding from Green Concept Lab, which is an expert group within Skanska.