The Swedish apartments where it is compulsory to chat to neighbours

The marketing material for Sällbo shows an old person chatting with a neighbour. Photo: Helsingborgshem

A city in southern Sweden is trying to fight loneliness among old and young Swedes and immigrants with a new apartment building where residents are required to socialize with each other for at least two hours a week.

The municipality-owned housing company in the port city of Helsingborg hopes the first residents will move into its experimental 'Sällbo' block in December this year, and will run the project for at least two years.

"The idea is to combat loneliness and ignorance," Anna Olsson, who is leading the project for the company, Helsingborgshem, told Swedish state broadcaster SVT.

"The sharing economy and sustainability are among the strongest trends there are right now. We want to contribute to that development and dare to experiment: we don't want to just share a lawn mower with others in our estate. We want to take it a step further."


'Sällbo' is a compound word formed from 'sällskap', meaning 'companionship' and 'bo' meaning 'live'.

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