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The agricultural land where the modern suburb now stands, has a history stretching some 2,000 years back (i.e. at least twice as old as Stockholm). The people who lived there were known as vaellingar, "those living on the embankment". While it first appears in historical records in 1347 and it is known two farmyards existed here during the reign of King Gustav Vasa in the 16th century, in the 1922 edition of Nordisk Familjebok the location was still regarded as too insignificant to deserve an article. In 1953 the number of inhabitants barely exceeded 2,000.
In a few years this rural land was transformed into the present modern suburb, inaugurated in 1954 in a ceremony attracting some 75,000 people. Vällingby was the first ABC City (ABC-stad) — an acronym for Arbete – Bostad – Centrum, "Labour – Housing – Centre"—a suburb designed to offer its residents everything they needed, in short an independent city. High above the modern structure, a rotating V-symbol placed the project on the map, while the shining T-symbol (for tunnelbana, metro) proudly indicated the presence of the newly built Stockholm Metro. Shortly after the inauguration of the modern suburb, the number of inhabitants had reached 25,000.
The new suburb was the fruit of plans to exploit the rural areas surrounding Stockholm dating back to the early 20th century. As a direct consequence of real-estate speculations around the turn of the century 1900, centralised municipal city planning was widely accepted as a necessary tool to solve the acute housing shortage and the City of Stockholm bought large areas for the purpose. During the decades preceding the construction of Vällingby, a series of small-scale suburbs had been realised: Some more or less exclusive—such as the egnahemsområden ("own-your-own-home areas") at Stocksund and Saltsjöbaden built around 1900; or in the style of the Garden city movement, like in Bromma and Enskede built between the wars; and low blocks of apartments built during the 1940s, like in Traneberg and Abrahamsberg.
However, many of these suburbs had turned into dormitory suburbs, a problem thought to be avoided in Vällingby by planning for approximately 10,000 work places for the 20-25,000 inhabitants, while the metro was to provide commercial centre access for some 80,000 people. Important influences came from the United Kingdom where both Labour and the Tories launched ambitious welfare programmes.
The original plan for the area was designed by architect Sven Markelius (1889–1972) city planning director in Stockholm, who placed high-rise buildings near the metro stations with peripheral self-contained houses and green areas around it. While the Social Democrats are widely acknowledged for the realisation of Vällingby, other political parties and, not the least, private entrepreneurs actively took part in the planning process. In 1955, the master plan drawn up by Sven Markelius for Farsta in Söderort was also adopted.
However, the ABC City failed to work as intended as most people found work elsewhere. Nevertheless, Vällingby remains one of the most popular suburbs of Stockholm with a cultural significance unsurpassed by later suburbs built as part of the so-called Million Programme during the 1960s and 1970s, such as Skärholmen and Tensta, where less efforts were spent on cultural and social infrastructure. Vällingby appeared in the novel and its film adaption "Let the Right One In".
Beginning in the late 1980s, a plan to renovate the main centre of Vällingby was discussed. In 2001, a plan was accepted by the local political powers. The major redevelopment of the centre was finished and inaugurated officially in April 2008.
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- "ABC-stad". Urban Utveckling & Samhällsplanering AB. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
- Norman Lucey (1973). "The Effect of Sir Ebenezer Howard and the Garden City Movement on Twentieth Century Town Planning". rickmansworthherts.com. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
- Eva Rudberg. "Sven G Markelius". Svenskt biografiskt lexikon. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
- Thomas Hall and Sonja Vidén. "The Million Homes Programme: a review of the great Swedish planning project". Planning Perspectives, Volume 20, 2005 - Issue 3. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
- David Pass (1969) Vällingby and Farsta--from idea to reality: The suburban development process in a large Swedish city (Statens institut for byggnadsförskning)