According to The Globe and Mail's Doug Saunders, IKEA wants to convert cities' neglected areas by turning them into a slice of Swedish heaven. Reportedly, the goal is to turn these urban wastelands into tightly-populated family-oriented neighbourhoods.
It will look, once complete, like a reproduction of the sort of historic, chic downtown neighbourhoods you find in the far more central parts of London or Paris, not in this distant expanse of former dockyards and bloodless public-housing project. At its core are straight, car-free streets lined with simple townhouses and ground-floor-access flats in five-storey rows. In the alleyways behind -- an imitation of the classic London backstreet, the mews -- will be little two- and three-storey homes, all with direct access to the street.
The 1,200 homes and apartments, 40 per cent of them large enough for families (making it a much more child-filled place than most post-industrial developments), will be priced to appeal to a range of incomes, the Swedes promise. A few seven- to 11-storey condominium towers will pepper the area, and offices for high-tech firms and a hotel will fill the busier edges. Secreted beneath the whole structure is an underground parking garage, to keep cars off the interior streets. Bus lanes and pedestrian walkways will cut across it, squares and public areas abound. The whole thing is designed to create the sense of felicity and discovery you get when wandering a historic European neighbourhood -- or, for that matter, an Ikea store.
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