The Million Programme (Swedish: Miljonprogrammet) is the common name for an ambitious public housing programme implemented in Sweden between 1965 and 1974 by the governing Swedish Social Democratic Party to make sure everyone could have a home at a reasonable price. The aim was to build a million new dwellings (hence the project's name) during the programme's 10-year period. At the time, the Million Programme was the most ambitious building programme in the world—to build one million new homes in a nation with a population of eight million. At the same time, a large proportion of the older unmodernised housing stock was demolished.
The housing shortage in Sweden before the start of the million programme was a major political and social issue in Sweden. Between 1850 and 1960, Sweden had transformed from an agrarian nation to a highly industrialized nation, which led to a large urbanization trend. The population in the countryside moved in large numbers to towns. This urbanization following World War II was also encouraged by the authorities and governing establishment. After the war, as Swedish industry was unharmed, cities needed workers to produce the amount of goods demanded by the rest of war-destroyed Europe. The major cities of Sweden had in many cases had their last building boom in the mid-19th century and were by 1950, way too small to accommodate the rural population now flooding into the cities. The increasing standard of living led to demands to dramatically decrease the number of inhabitants per square mile and to abolish the old Lort-Sverige (Dirt Sweden). This was made possible because of the outstanding growth Sweden had during the record years (rekordåren) in the 1950s and 1960s which led to a flood of income to the national treasury. This money was used to social reforms but in large numbers they where used to support the building sector. The social democratic government pushed through a number of unpopular reforms to ensure the availability of land such as new expropriation rules and the right of local authorities to buy land by force, as long as the landowner was planning to sell it to a private buyer. Another new law said that municipalities could build homes outside its border ("Lex Bollmora"), a violation of the principle that municipality tax money stays inside the municipality. Then countryside municipalities like Tyresö near Stockholm could not afford building so many homes.
In the end, about 1,006,000 new dwellings were built using the public-private partnership model. The Government would bear 75% of the initial costs and this would be repaid by the customers and residents in a 30-year period. The net result was an increase in Sweden’s housing stock of 650,000 new apartments and houses, with a general rise in quality, though arguably at the expense of aesthetics.
The new Million Programme residential areas were greatly inspired by early suburban neighbourhoods such as Vällingby and Årsta. One of the main aims behind the planning of these residential areas was to create "good democratic citizens". The means of achieving this were to build at high quality with a good range of services including schools, nurseries, churches, public spaces, libraries, and meeting places for different groups of households. A principal aim, although ultimately unsuccessful, was to mix and integrate different groups of households through the spatial mixing of tenures. Most of the apartments were of the "standard three room apartment" type (Swedish: normaltrea) of 75 m², planned for a model family of two adults and two children.
A common misconception of the Million Programme is that most (or all) of the residentials are tower blocks of concrete. In fact, the majority of the housing stock consists of apartment buildings with three or fewer floors, terraced houses and one-family houses.
Million Programme districts
Well known Million Programme districts include:
- Rinkeby, Tensta and Husby in Stockholm Municipality
- Bredäng, Skärholmen and Vårberg in Stockholm Municipality
- Fisksätra in Nacka (Stockholm).
- Vårby gård, Masmo, Alby, Fittja and Hallunda in Huddinge Municipality and Botkyrka Municipality outside Stockholm
- Jordbro and Brandbergen in Haninge Municipality outside Stockholm
- Hallonbergen in Sundbyberg Municipality
- Hagalund in Solna Municipality
- Malmvägen in Sollentuna Municipality
- Hjällbo, Hammarkullen and several others in Angered in Gothenburg Municipality
- Bergsjön in Gothenburg Municipality
- Hisings-Backa in Gothenburg
- Rosengård, Hermodsdal, Kroksbäck, Bellevuegården, Lorensborg, Lindängen, Höja, Lindeborg and Holma in Malmö
- Kronogården in Trollhättan
- Kronoparken in Karlstad
- Ryd in Linköping
- Johannelund in Linköping
- Ekholmen in Linköping
- Berga in Linköping
- Skäggetorp in Linköping
- Gottsunda and Eriksberg in Uppsala
- Hertsön in Luleå
- Araby in Växjö
- Ålidhem in Umeå
- Mariehem in Umeå
- Årby in Eskilstuna
- Hässleholmen and Norrby in Borås
- Råslätt in Jönköping
- Ryd, Skövde in Skövde
- Hageby in Norrköping
- Navestad in Norrköping
- Ekön in Motala
- Norrliden in Kalmar
- Norra Fäladen and Klostergården in Lund
- Korsbacka in Kävlinge
- Skogslyckan and Dalaberg in Uddevalla
- Rosta in Örebro
- Andersberg in Gävle
- Körfältet in Östersund
- Kungshall in Nybro
- Drottninghög, Fredriksdal and Dalhem in Helsingborg
- Nacksta in Sundsvall