So, let me tell you a bit about why I love my neighbourhood here in Gothenburg, Sweden, despite us just living in a rental apartment, in a neighbourhood that used to have old, beautiful but very worn-down buildings that are now replaced with modern, but aging, ones built in the late 70s/80s. It’s not a half-bad place despite all the horror stories about Sweden falling apart spread around the world.
The blocks where we live have about 50-60% people of foreign background, which is quite a bit more than the average of Sweden in total. This means that growing up with people of different colour and culture is a very normal thing for our kids, going to school and playing without any thought about these things. And no, we have no particular issues with criminality or gangs of unruly teens here. And our kids are quite comfortable in their very Swedish cultural identity, with parents who are pro-immigration, who are suckers for tradition *and* change, and a father who wears a Thor’s hammer and is covered in Norse tattoos.
Same floor storage
Every third flat has same floor storage, meaning elders and people with various disabilities easily can access things they have stored away. Again, this normalizes the mix of people.
Elevators, ramps & electric door openers
Despite the buildings being only three or four floors, and for the same reason as above, all buildings have elevators, ramps and door openers, making it easy to access the building.
Every second building has an environment station where garbage is recycled. Every household sorts food & organic material, newspapers, cardboard, plastics, glass, batteries, lightbulbs & fluorescent tubes etc. Kids know the importance of this and it is part of how they live.
Every yard has a small, separate house with washing machines and rooms to dry wet clothes in, which can be booked and used for free.
Gym & carpenting
The landlord and the tenants have started up a full free 3-room gym and carpenting room with machines, used under trust.
Party & gathering room
All tenants can use a party and gathering room for free, to have meetings or birthday parties etc. I intend to lecture for my club here later.
All tenants have access to 4 simple guest apartments that can be rented dirt cheap, for when friends or relatives come visiting.
The landlord has put extra effort into gardening, hiring skilled gardeners who have set up some amazing flower & plant beds with small semi-wild oases of flowers, plants, bushes and trees. They are set up in zones with info signs so you can learn the names of the various plants.
Every yard has a decent playground and they are always busy with kids, either on their own, or for the toddlers with a mother or father keeping an eye on them.
Local produce & the market place
Around the corner we have a sourdough bakery, a Dutch cheese shop, Fishermen who have sold local fish here since the 50’s, one of them also sells local meat. Right next to them you can get local fruits & vegetables. And just a bit off we have a nice Iranian gentleman who sells fantastic spices, tea and coffee beans.
Supermarket & State liquor store
Almost every neighbourhood in Sweden has its own supermarket and there are only a handful of chains nationally, meaning their assortment are pretty standardized wherever you go. That is not always a great thing, but it is decent to good in quality and it is just a minute away. And they are focusing more and more on environment-friendly products, which hopefully will be good.
Yes, booze is controlled in Sweden, but on the other hand that also means the State liquor stores are obliged to order what you want, and when they order, they order for a whole country. This means the range of products available is really good and every liquor store is basically the size of a medium-sized supermarket. We have one on the corner.
Health & Dental care
Also around the corner we have communal health & dental care, offered pretty much for free (dental care free for under 24), making it a good neighbourhood for elders or anyone with any health issue. Actual hospitals are 10-20 minutes away by slow tram. They too are of course also free, or rather funded by shared taxes.
There are a number of good public schools for kids and youths of varying ages available in the near distance. Kids can walk there easily and safely.
There are two nice green parks 1-2 minutes away where people have picnic, play around and just enjoy themselves. One of them has one of the best views of Gothenburg you can find.
Public transport is excellent and we don’t have a car since there is no need for it. We have four different trams passing by and a number of buses. There is usually no more than 2-3 minutes of waiting. Also there are bike lanes and Equal Share roads for cars & bikes, meaning it is pretty easy to get to town. And it is no more than you can walk easily either, even if it takes you half an hour or so.