Meet Strand East, an IKEA-designed town

Strand East IKEA Town

The furniture industry isn’t enough for the Swedish company. Now, IKEA is moving forward with its urban development plans to create an entire neighborhood that’s built on sustainability, modest commercialism, and most importantly, a big sense of community.

Known as the Strand East, the prototype town will be located next to the London Olympic Park spread across 27 acres of land. This residential space can hold approximately 6,000 people and will look like a “reproduction of the sort of historic, chic downtown neighborhoods,” says The Globe and Mail‘s Doug Saunders who recently visited the site. But before you think IKEA land is just another showroom filled with funky named furnitures, think again. You can thankfully leave that allen wrench behind because this won’t be an IKEA-themed neighborhood as much as an IKEA-constructed one.

IKEA Infographic Strand East“We’re not just building another ‘development’ – this is about creating a neighbourhood,” the Strand East site reads. “A place alive with the hustle and bustle of residents, retailers and local business people alike.”

According to this Strand East infographic, there will be 1,200 rental homes, 40 percent of which can support families. Offering varied rental prices, these homes hope to bring in a range of demographics so the town is diverse in all aspects of social life. Strand East will also be “mostly” car-free and instead promote public transportation to help reduce carbon emission, and have spaces such as hospital and schools strategically placed so residents never have to worry about long travels. It will also utilize underground space for parking lots and tunnels that suck away garbage and waste so you don’t have to worry about taking out the trash. Lastly, the town will be powered by hydroelectric plants to maintain that green tech goal.

“We are in keeping with the IKEA philosophy: We don’t want to produce for the rich or the super-rich; we want to produce for the families, for the people,” Harald Müller, the head of LandProp (IKEA’s property development arm), told The Globe and Mail. “Our approach must be to get the right housing and office prices while delivering very good quality at the same time. We want to be smart enough in our design that we can offer the product for a reasonable price.”

Want to find a job in Strand East? The site also notes that 50,000m2 of land will be converted to office and commercial space, focusing on digital and creative businesses. Visitors to the area can also stay in a boutique hotel that houses 350 rooms and walk around public plazas or enjoy a water taxi ride that’s inspired by Venetian gondolas.

No word yet on whether IKEA will feature the $86,500 flat-pack homes we saw last month but the site sure will be an interesting place to look into living or visiting once it opens in 2013. To learn more about Strand East, visit the official site to stroll through the 3D blueprint and explore what the town aims to offer.

Image Credit: The Globe and Mail

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