"With its large-scale urban planning and building culture, a heritage from the social democratic gone neoliberal history, the Stockholm region is facing the challenge to find a new functioning urban model: a mix of individual self-expression and consensus to fit the Swedish mind"

Meet Jan Rydén; City Maker in Stockholm, Sweden. He joined us for the very first New Europe Joint Venture last June at Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam.

Jan Rydén is a curator at Färgfabriken, a former paint factory transformed into a exhibition centre and platform home to a non-profit foundation that works with art, architecture and urbanism. He is responsible for content of exhibitions, development of ideas and collaborations with partners, and has been working on projects addressing Stockholm’s challenges and future urban model. 

Experiment Stockholm ©Anna Asplind

Jan is involved in different art projects such as Experiment Stockholm, an exhibition about finding new ways to take on the challenges Stockholm has. Eperiment Stockholm is an on-going project that raises questions about and seeks to examine and experiment with strategies and solutions for dealing with the challenges of a rapidly growing Stockholm region. What kind of society are we building for future generations? How are we to cope with unforeseen events? How does and could the built and the green interact in the city environment?

©Färgfabriken

In Jan’s experience, those challenges are the same for many cities. They are about climate, housing, social segregation, traffic. Färgfabriken works in many other cities around the world with different projects. The international perspective has shown Jan that Stockholm should have a lot of safety margins to experiment and try new things. Compared to Beirut, one of the cities where Färgfabriken is active, Stockholm is a very well-functioning place. Beirut’s problems are immense compared to Stockholm’s, so if new things can’t happen in there, where can they?

Jan Rydén, sees the bottom-up self-building city as a way to create a more adaptive and sustainable city. In his article The Self-building City and Urban Resilience for the 43th edition of Volume Magazine, he argues that “with its large-scale urban planning and building culture, a heritage from the social democratic gone neoliberal history, the Stockholm region is facing the challenge to find a new functioning urban model: a mix of individual self-expression and consensus to fit the Swedish mind”. He hopes to see within this model a movement towards diversity, incremental growth and multilevel co-creation.

Next to his work as a curator, Jan is a painter whose work often contains a playful double coding. His paintings are both works on canvas or paper and site-specific installations.

 

Involved city makers
Jan Rydén
Färgfabriken, Stockholm
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