Across Europe and North America, urban centers and their surrounding suburbs continue to see a surge in growth – Yet the boundary between urban and suburban is no longer what it once was. As architects and citizens alike navigate new philosophies of urbanization, we sat down with Henning Larsen partner Viggo Haremst, who leads the development of Tibble 2.0, to discuss how suburban living models might grow in the future.
We often picture the suburb in its purest, traditional form as the place you just commute back to in the evening to sleep. But the suburb of tomorrow is where you have your everyday life. You work, live and play there, and you don’t necessarily need to go anywhere else. Good cities have a fair amount of nature embedded in them, but I think suburban environments offer an opportunity to connect with nature in a different way. Looking at our Tibble 2.0 project, for example, the proximity to dense forests and lakes isn’t something you can find in the same way in the big city.
I’m not sure if it’s necessarily a matter of trying to draw people out of the city – It’s more a matter of people actually coming back to the areas where they came from, while also adding new inhabitants. The suburbs and smaller cities in Sweden experience a huge brain drain of talent, which often never comes back. But Tibble wants to create what they call an innovation cluster, an area that concentrates opportunities for the people that otherwise might have moved elsewhere to build their own identity. Creating that environment outside of the city makes it easier for people to come back – They see that they can find the same connected, challenging environment that they seek in urban centers.
So the focus doesn’t fully rest on attracting new people – Of course that’s part of the strategy, but first and foremost, it’s about creating the opportunity to come back or to allow talent to flourish the place it grows up. There’s a huge young generation growing up right now in Tibble – And do they actually need to move? Maybe they don’t. Maybe they’ll find a way to stay there and find opportunities close to home, which is something we want to help provide.