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Västerås, Sweden




85 ha


Invited competition


Assignment completed 


Västerås Municipality


Patrick Verhoeven, Martin Arfalk,

Andrei Deacu, Mariada Stamouli, Elin Delmar, Alessandro Macaluso

Colourful Sätra

Bringing life to the Suburbs​

Sätra is 85 hectares of forest and farmland, located four kilometres north west of the city centre of Västerås, Sweden. In its ‘Overview Plan 2026’ Västerås detailed its ambitions to create a development strategy that would transform Sätra into a sustainable neighbourhood containing 1500 homes by 2026 and adding another 1000 units by 2050. The city wants Sätra to be the example of a future sustainable vibrant living district. At the same time the new suburban district can’t rely on the traditional ingredients such as higher density and commerce. So how to shape this new vibrant and resilient environment?


‘Colourful Sätra’ is a proposal to reimagine the planned development by strengthening and combining the site’s foundational resilient qualities and opportunities. Today, the Sätra site is surrounded by isolated clusters of suburban land uses: forests, agricultural land, commercial plots, low density housing and open recreational areas. Lacking the traditional city building ingredients ‘Colourful Sätra’ expands and combines these peripheral elements to generate an rich spatial intensity in a suburban context. 


The experimental neighbourhood invites in and mixes together valuable forest, water landscapes, farmland, housing, culture and recreational areas. These functions are spread throughout the neighbourhood via a clear block structure network that organises the new and existing forms with maximum opportunity for programmatic cross pollination and circular systems. The result is a residential district that is supported by a variety of overlapping land uses, providing residents a diverse selection of housing typologies, circular economies, cultural activities and recreational experiences. ‘Colourful Sätra’ introduces the urban to suburban living and Västerås becomes the test bed for a showcase pilot project for all of Sweden.

How to develop a resilient slice of suburbia?

A colourful pilot project!

Invite in Sätra's surrounding land use

Organise and combine

Sätra's colourful building blocks

A rich spatial intensity in a suburban context

Sätra’s colourful building blocks

A rich catalog that shows the possibility of transforming Sätra into a colourful, circular, earthy, recreational, experimental and at the same time urban development.

Existing topography

1. Nature

Preserving the most valuable elements, its biodiversity and hills

2. Water

Keeping the existing water and drainage buffer zones

3. Farming 

For city and the local production

4. Living

A wide variety of typologies

5. Culture and recreation

Activating the neighbourhood

The building blocks network

All building blocks find their place in the network and create unexpected meetings, spaces and environments.

A showcase for Sweden

Through an ambitious and experimental pilot project Västerås demonstrates how to bring spatial qualities to peripheral environments. 

A soft landing

The new neighbourhood is in harmony with its context, but provides a much needed injection of urban life to the area.

Putting the Urban in Suburban

A meeting place of ingredients-  nature, water, farming, different types of living and recreation. Together they shape the new colourful Sätra!

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