Hey friend! Hope you're doing alright out there in the autumn darkness. When it's dark outside, we like to think of summer. A few summers ago we wrote this post on Aurora in Nacka, Stockholm. If you're curious to know what it's like to live in a Live to Grow student accommodation, have a read!
It’s a sunny day this Friday, when a group of tenants from Aurora in Stockholm meets us to show us their home. Together with photographer Josefine and property manager Monica, they’re gonna give us a glimpse of what living in a Live to Grow housing feels like.
The tall white houses of Aurora rise up around the inner courtyard, they follow the sort of hilly ground on which they stand, like snow on alp tops. Inside, they house 207 apartments ranging from 24 to 55 m2. And even though the apartments aren’t huge, they feel both light and airy. Some of them have balconies facing the green courtyard below. Aurora is owned by Grön Bostad and the apartments are managed by ByggVesta through their concept for student housing Live to Grow by ByggVesta. Besides student apartments, there are also apartments for people aged 18–25 who don’t study. Some of the apartments are so called buddy apartments; small two-bedroom apartments with separate bedrooms and common living room, kitchen and bathroom. They work great for two friends living together and is a smart choice for environmental and financial sustainability.
Marika, one of the happy tenants of Aurora, has a 30 m2 student apartment: “I really appreciate the floorplan of my place, is super smart! I’ve got a one-bedroom apartment on 30 m2, and still somehow it feels spacious. It’s nice to have your own kitchen and washing machine, too.”
No matter which type of ByggVesta apartment you move into, you’ll get wooden floors, light walls, well-planned storage and carefully selected materials. At Aurora the bathrooms are tiled and have shower and washing machine and dryer. With Scandinavian minimalism as base, every tenant can give their apartment the character they want using furniture and textiles. By signing ByggVesta’s Green Contract, all tenants promise to try to live more a more sustainable life when it comes to things like energy consumption and recycling – areas in which ByggVesta has been at the forefront for many years.
An important part of the Live to Grow concept is the student ambassador. ByggVesta hires a student who lives at the accommodation in question and who can work a few hours a week with administrative tasks while also becoming a person to whom tenants can come if they need someone to talk to. At Aurora, Lina is student ambassador. She moved here last summer: “Aurora has such a positive and nice feeling to it – you can tell that people like it here, that they’re happy their accommodation looks so nice and that they like the landlord. I’m very happy with the student ambassador concept, and I look forward to be a part of developing the Live to Grow concept further – we focus on care and safety which feels great.”
The situation for students who look for accommodation isn’t easy in Stockholm. From the municipality’s side they’ve tried to focus on building homes for students the past years.
“Finally, some life and movement at the student accommodation in Ektorp! Students and young are prioritized groups when we build in Nacka. This beautiful project, Aurora, is part of a larger investment from our side. Now, the projects are all done, and we can thank ByggVesta for great co-operation with great results”, says säger Cathrin Bergenstråhle from Nacka Municipality when asked about her thoughts on Aurora.
The common spaces help with the life and movement-part at Aurora. Whenever ByggVesta build a student accommodation, they focus on creating spaces which help bring people together. At Aurora there are the barbeque areas outside and a large wooden staircase. Inside there is a brand-new lounge area and common study room.
“I’m looking forward to using both the lounge and the study room. Before moving to Aurora, I lived in ByggVestas student accommodation in Norra Djurgårdsstaden and there I used the study room a lot, for group assignments and for when you just need to get out of your own home to study a little more focused”, says Moa. She tells us about how people are enjoying the staircase on the courtyard:
“The stairs are wonderful! To sit there and have a fika or just hang out or study when the sun is out … it’s great. I really like how it looks when its dark outside, with the lights and all – it’s nice to look out the window at home and see it”.
It’s been about a year since the first tenants moved in at Aurora. Being the first of all, you have a sort of responsibility to create a nice atmosphere. Here, you can tell people are actively trying to do that: people stop to talk, keep their front doors open when the weather is nice and invite each other over for coffee. In the Aurora community app, people ask all sorts of questions and on the common Facebook-page, there are several posts about parties and so called after works. This year, of course, there have been less of the big parties. Instead, tenants have used the outdoor area to meet.
“I feel like people really want to hang out and meet new people here. It took, what, a month before we had our first barbeque? That time, just when everyone’s food was ready, it started raining and we had to take everything and run in to the bicycle room and eat, haha” says Moa. Lina agrees: “yes, Aurora is more welcoming and homier than any other place I’ve lived before”.
Aya and Marika fill in:
“People are kind – and the landlord too! I think ByggVesta have been good from the start, they’ve done a lot to create a nice feeling here too. I’ve never felt unsafe or insecure here.”
The lush and green courtyard is a nice mirror of the area, Ektorp has all kinds of nature – oak forest and lakes just around the corner – which make it easy for the tenants of Aurora to get out to take a run or a silent break from studying. Though Ektorp has this sort of countryside feel to it, it’s really not far from the city center – it takes just under 20 minutes to get to Slussen and there are many ways to get here using public transportation.
“I’m from Dalarna, and sometimes I long for the forest, and I like to jog, which makes Ektorp a perfect area to live in. I’m really happy with living so close to Nyckelviken”, says Marika. “Yes, one of the best things with living here is the area – it feels like the countryside but its super easy to get to the city and to school”, Moa adds. She usually bikes down to the doc and take the ferry over to the city: “You can use your SL card to ride them so that’s nice. Last summer I worked at Lidingö and then I took the ferry every day.”
Aurora didn’t end up where it did by chance – whenever ByggVesta builds a student accommodation, they prioritize places that are close to urban areas, green areas and public transportation. Not only because it’s handy for the tenants, but also because research shows that students who live like that tend to do better in school.
The tenants who move into a student apartment by ByggVesta do not lose their queue points in the ByggVesta queue. That lets the students focus on their studies and when their done, they have a better shot at getting a regular Byggvesta apartment somewhere else.
From the people we talk to, everyone says “homey” when they describe Aurora. It feels genuine and we get the feeling that the homey-feeling is really something everyone wants to tend to. Aya, who’s lived in Aurora for almost a year now, compares it to her hometown:
“In Umeå, everyone knows everyone – it’s a small town you know. I feel like Aurora has potential to become that too, it has a nice and relaxed vibe to it. It feels like home.”
Hope you like this story – we do.
ByggVesta builds homes for everyone :)