Ikea Now Tries Its Hand At Community Design

Ikea, the Swedish-based furniture store known around the world for designing modern, affordable home furnishings, is now trying its hand at designing an entire neighborhood. The community, called Strand East and located on a 26-acre site in London, is being touted by its designers as an energy-efficient, affordable, mixed-use community.

In a recent The Globe and Mail story, community designers said that Ikea will actually own the more than 1,200 apartments and townhomes on the site and rent them out. Along with 1, 2 and 3-bedroom homes, the community is expected to have commercial office buildings and workspace designed around digital business. Other features of the community will include parks, restaurants, cycling paths and stores.

image via strandeast.com

Ikea, which has pledged to use 100 percent renewable energy sources to power its stores and distribution centers in the UK – and said it will be 80 percent there by 2015 –  not surprisingly plans to incorporate a number of sustainable features in its newly designed community. Those green features will including little need for a car as focus will be put on  walking, biking and public transit.

Trash will be removed from homes by way of underground suction tunnels and a hydroelectric plant will provide power to the new community. In addition, green spaces will abound and farmer’s markets will available on an ongoing basis to buy fresh, local produce. In addition, waterways are planned throughout the community which can be used by water-taxis, moorings and floating bars, much like a mini Venice, Italy.

And if it’s stores are any indication of its commitment to sustainable practices, there’s no reason to believe the community won’t be as well. Ikea has a vast array of  PV projects installed at various facilities around the world. The company was also the first major U.S. retailer to completely ban incandescent light bulbs from its shelves.

Kristy Hessman is a writer and native Oregonian who currently resides in California. Before starting her own company, she worked as a reporter covering business and politics for daily newspapers and The Associated Press.