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HSB in Sweden Celebrates 100 Years

HSB, one of CHI’s three members in Sweden, turns 100 years old this year. Congratulations!

Johan Nyhus, HSB’s chairman, and CHI board member, offered the following reflections on the centenary celebrations: “Together we can make a difference. That is what history has taught us, from the 1920s when the severe living conditions with overcrowding and housing shortages formed the idea: what if people got together and built their own houses? Houses and homes of a much higher standard than what was common at that time. Looking back, I am proud of what HSB has contributed to and is continuing to contribute to society when it comes to innovation and commitment. The challenges we face today are different than those of a hundred years ago, but they are just as important. And we have a large responsibility to do what we can to achieve sustainable development and reach our ambitious climate goals. And continue to shape the homes of the future!”

A Decade-by-Decade Look at HSB’s Growth

HSB was founded in the 1920s to tackle the problem of inadequate housing. In the 1930s, HSB worked to remove overcrowding and establish a foundation for social housing policy. By the 1940s, the company had expanded, adopted reforms, and built more homes, leading to the emergence of Folkhemmet and apartment buildings.

In the 1950s, HSB became one of Sweden’s largest companies, with two in-house factories, three carpentry factories, and a marble quarry. The 1960s saw the launch of the “million program,” with HSB becoming Sweden’s largest single-family house builder. The 1970s brought inflation and high interest rates, as well as warnings from HSB about setbacks to fair housing costs.

The 1980s saw a boom in renovations due to a construction crisis, while the 1990s brought a real estate bubble and a halt to housing construction. HSB formed a bank, raised environmental issues, and had its first female chairman. The 2000s saw a booming housing market until the global financial crisis of 2008, followed by HSB’s praised Slottet quarter in Helsingborg and the Turning Torso landmark in Malmö.

The 2010s were marked by difficulties for young home buyers, leading HSB to launch its own solution, HSB Dela. The company also certified all-new production environmentally and ran a climate train through Sweden. In the 2020s, HSB faced the COVID-19 pandemic, took steps towards digitization, and inaugurated Sweden’s largest solar park while setting ambitious climate goals.

Anniversary Magazine
An anniversary magazine that describes the company’s history on 38 pages, highlights its development decade by decade. The magazine also presents a picture of modern Sweden and its emergence over the years.

Anniversary Trailer
What did a kitchen look like in 1923 when HSB was formed? What can a home look like in the future? From April to June, HSB’s anniversary trailer travels through Sweden. The exhibition trailer displays exciting innovations and provides a glimpse into past designs and what the future of home design may hold for housing cooperatives in Sweden.

Anniversary Video
This video tells the century-long history of the Swedish housing organization, HSB. The film is in Swedish with English subtitles.

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