The Business of Improving Neighborhoods. A Critical Overview of Neighborhood-Based Business Improvement Districts (NBIDs) in Sweden

The Business of Improving Neighborhoods. A Critical Overview of Neighborhood-Based Business Improvement Districts (NBIDs) in Sweden

Publication Type:
article-journal
Date Issued:
2023
Authors:
Dragan Kusevski , Maja Stalevska , Chiara Valli
Publisher:
Sage Publications
Language:
eng
Page:
1046-1079
DOI:
10.1177/10780874211070746
Abstract:

This article offers an overview of neighbourhood-based BIDs (NBIDs) in Sweden. Swedish NBIDs tend to appear in stigmatized residential areas engaging with pressing sets of urban issues that have been longstanding concern of social policy. Their overarching goal is raising property values in neighborhoods on the edge between urban decline and (re)development potential. Emerging in a neoliberalizing institutional context, NBIDs present themselves as correctives to public-policy failures by promoting property-oriented solutions. The adaptation of the BID model in the Swedish ‘post-welfare’ landscape, however, exhibits, and arguably exacerbates, the shortcomings found in BID elsewhere. Their opaque institutional structure and lack of accountability contribute to curbing democratic influence over local development, thus reinforcing spatial inequalities. We argue that the growing political advocacy for the institutionalization of the BID model in Sweden presents a new milestone in the neoliberalization of urban governance, as private actors are promoted to legitimate co-creators of urban policy.

Keywords:
BID Business Improvement District Sweden neoliberal urbanism neighborhood development