Paradiset in Lund was the first urban eco-village to be built as part of the Nya Miljonprogrammet of 2035, marking a new era in Swedish housing policy.
Many Swedes were surprised when the govermnent chose Lund as the location for its first state-owned eco-village; Malmö, might have seemed the natural choice. But when the University of Lund moved several of its institutions to the modern buildings of the (then newly-built) “Science Village” at Brunnshög, the precarious but ambitious new red-green government of 2026 decided to retrofit all vacant state-owned buildings and provide “an affordable, inclusive and sustainable housing for all”.
At that time, an increasing percentage of Sweden’s housing, formerly socially owned, had been privatised and subjected to full marketisation; many residents struggled to afford a flat, or even find one, and segregation by economic circumstance and ethnicity was compounding and amplifying social unrest. The country-wide movement Jagvillhabostadnu (“I want housing now”) grew stronger and angrier, threatening to bring the Swedish government to court for failing to fulfill the eleventh Sustainable Development Goal, which was meant to be met by 2030.
In a deliberate echo of the famed policy of the 1960s and 70s, the new government launched its “New Million Program 2035” with the goal of retrofitting one million dwellings over a ten year period. A few new dwellings were built as well but, after facing a bruising legal challenge for having failed to meet its own climate targets, the state focussed on refurbishment and retrofit in order to reduce emissions and free up capacity at minimum cost. New regulations reduced the allotted living space to 25 sqm. per person (down from a previous average of about 45 sqm.), thereby increasing the number of units that could be produced; further privatisation was stopped, and many buildings were actually renationalised, in what was a deeply controversial decision that is still discussed today. To counteract the obvious lines of criticism—particularly with regard to the reduction of living space—the government included in its plan the provision of common spaces that would be open for all.
Paradiset‘s long history as part of the university’s city campus resulted in a fascinating blend of architectural eras and styles. Of particular note for its majestic five-layer windows overlooking the communal garden is Gamla Kirurgen, the old Surgical Hospital, which had become offices and lecture-halls for the social science faculty by the early C21st; it currently houses a high proportion of elderly people, many of them retired academics, so the garden is a great spot for an impromptu lecture (or, more likely, a fierce but friendly debate) on C20th climate policy.
The multimedia Eden library is open to all and well worth a visit: in addition to borrowing various forms of entertainment or educational materials, you can produce your own music and videos (and listen to or watch stuff from the university library’s collections), and recharge your warming or cooling clothes. On the second floor, the urban workshop provides a space in which to learn (or teach!) new and traditional handicrafts—why not learn how to weave, or how to design self-warming clothes? But perhaps the most appealing facility for short-term visitors is the Klinnenberg swimming pool located in the basement—much appreciated during the hot summer months—which is lined with recycled Höganäs ceramic tiles of a colour still known as “petrol blue”.