IKEA is moving beyond the confines of the eco-friendly home to work on sustainable urban living. The flat-pack giant is partnering with the municipality of Helsingborg in its native Sweden on a green community project, known as H22, that takes in agriculture, retail and housing. Sites are being set up in and around the city in preparation for a 35-day fair that kicks off in the summer of 2022.
In the Drottninghög suburb, IKEA will help establish an urban farming marketplace with an eye to upskilling residents and creating new jobs and businesses. Starting this year, fresh crops will be grown at a site dubbed ‘The Garden.’ The produce will then make it into local meals in ‘The Kitchen,’ all of which will be sold at ‘The Market.’
Meanwhile, an abandoned warehouse in the harbor area will house new retail, manufacturing and production methods for visitors to explore. Here, IKEA will showcase ideas for the homes of the future, where new technologies “shape the form and function of a living space.” It will also offer up its textiles and printing techniques in the hopes of boosting eco-friendly manufacturing methods.
Connecting the different sides of the fair will be the city forest of Fredriksdalsskogen. In a nod to a local flat-pack urban planning project from 1955, IKEA will create an outdoor camping space using sustainable material and a self-sufficient energy and water system. Students from around the world will be invited to the area to design new affordable housing and utilities solutions.
To help promote the project, the furniture maker is launching a podcast series titled The Oracle, which will feature local inhabitants sharing their stories on the future of the city across several one-hour episodes.
H22 marks IKEA’s latest push to adopt more eco-friendly policies. The company previously pledged to be climate positive by 2030, starting with aim of generating more renewable energy before the end of 2019 than the energy its stores use. It also promised to stop selling non-rechargeable alkaline batteries by October 2021 due to concerns over waste and sustainability.