There are feelings you get when you enter an Ikea store. The vertiginous experience of getting lost in their craftily designed labyrinth. The surprise of wandering into something you hadn’t intended to buy. The discomfiting almost-warmth of a fake apartment. The faintly reassuring sense that your children and your car are in someone else’s hands. Then the odd realization that you’re really inside a high-security structure on the distant edge of town.
Would you like to feel that way all the time? The people who run the Swedish home-furnishings behemoth are launching a bold push into the business of designing, building and operating entire urban neighbourhoods.
Where once they placed a couch in a living room, the Swedes now want to place you and 6,000 neighbours into a neglected corner of your city, design an entire urban world around you, and Ikea-ize your lives.
No there will not be Ikea furniture or even a store.
Rather, this is garden city movement, without gardens.
Quick, someone send them the works of Hayek, Jane Jacobs, and Jim Scott. Or do their warnings not apply to Scandinavians?
Update: At first it looked like I may have been caught as an April fool by this story, but commenters suggest not. I really don’t know, but I like to think the story is true, so let’s go with that.