A city built on Ikea principles

In London, the recently announced Strand East project is doing just that. The project will be a 2 000 000 square foot development and will be undertaken by LandProp, the development arm of the Inter Ikea Group, which owns Ikea’s intellectual property.

The project is set to be built south of the Olympic Park in Stratford and will feature 1 200 homes, 480 000 square feet of commercial office space, a ‘hub area’ with shared space for the community, a creative zone intended for creative-minded businesses to take root, a restaurant, a hotel, pedestrain walkways, cycle routes and a new bus route. According to reports LandProp bought the site for almost $39 million.

Harald Muller, managing director of LandProp, explains that the development would not house buildings which are filled with Billy bookcases and Lack side tables, but that the development would showcase homes which are family orientated while featuring good design and good quality with a sense of simplicity.

This is not LandProp’s first development either, they have been at the helm at 30 other developments across Europe, and like those developments Strand East will be built with a “Swedish philosophy mentality,” explains Muller. This means that buildings would be constructed to withstand the harsh weather conditions with extensive insulation and high energy efficiency.

Further exploring the Ikea philosophy, which is “doing something for the people,” means that vehicle access will be restricted to a certain extent. Residents will all park in an underground parking area, while buses, delivery vans and emergency vehicles will be allowed inside.

This Utopian city at this stage is still just sketches and renderings as LandProp is currently preparing its application for a planning permit, and it will formally apply for one in January 2012. Even then if everything goes well the construction would start in 2013.

Although this concept is certainly a first of its kind, we are left wondering how is this different from other developments? Is this a step forward or just another novelty idea?
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