A suburb of Stockholm called Vällingby captured the imagination of numerous planners and architects from outside of Sweden in the 1950s and 1960s. For instance, in his book Sweden Builds the American architect, planner and photographer George E. Kidder Smith (1957, p. 174) wrote:

“Vällingby probably has more planning lessons to offer than any recent urban development within my knowledge. By beautiful example it shows how the suburbs which increasingly envelope the world’s cities can be well planned, park-like, viable centers — not haphazard accretions strangled by transportation, mired in shopping, desperately in need of adequate schools and public amenity”.

Smith was not alone in visiting Vällingby or singing its praises. Ian R. Cook at Northumbria University has conducted a research project looking at the ways in which Vällingby was promoted as an international model of suburbia, the study tours to the suburb, and the influence of Vällingby on people and places elsewhere in the world. 

Here you can access free of charge the publications that have been written so far from the project. Soon you will be able to access some of the archival materials uncovered during the project.

For further details feel free to contact Ian Cook at ian.cook [at] northumbria.ac.uk 

Project publications 

Cook I. R. (2018) Suburban policy mobilities: Examining North American engagements with Vällingby, Stockholm. Geografiska Annaler, Series B: Human Geography 100 (4): 343-358. [free version here, official version here]

Cook, I. R. (2018) Showcasing Vällingby to the world: Post-war suburban development, informational infrastructures and the extrospective city. Planning Perspectives 33 (3): 315-333[free version here, official version here]

Cook, I. R. and Andersson, I. (2018) Tour guides and the hosting of policy tourism: Show and tell in Vällingby and Växjö. In Andersson, I. (ed.) Globala Flöden och Lokala Praktiker – Policymobilitet i Tid och Rum (Årsboken Ymer 138). Stockholm: Svenska Sällskapet för Antropologi och Geografi: 111-132. [free version here written in English]