Why would one of the world’s largest furniture companies want to design and build a city neighbourhood? Is this taking vertical integration to a whole new level? There is possibly a good economic argument to be made for Ikea designing your life: whether it’s the couch in your living room or the building you live in, or office you work at. But as the G&M article indicates, there is no plan for Poäng chairs and Swedish meatballs here.
Or is this an answer to housing affordability? As Ikea business development manager says, “its aim of slashing production costs could eventually remove the need for “affordable” homes.” Although, given Ikea’s business model, the impacts of a post-carbon future might influence the degree of cost “slashing”.
Maybe this neighbourhood manual is destined to become one of the socio-spatial plans that gave creedence to the urban planning profession. Take Howard’s Garden City for example, or Perry’s Neighbourhood Unit, as the kind of manipulation of built environments to achieve social harmony.
In any case, a large company with lots of cash hanging around wants to put it somewhere long-term. Here is the Ikea Manual for building a neighbourhood. Read it twice, and don’t forget your allen key.