The flagship concept of the ‘4th urban environment’. Branding and visioning in Malmö, Sweden

The flagship concept of the ‘4th urban environment’. Branding and visioning in Malmö, Sweden

Publication Type:
article-journal
Date Issued:
2017
Authors:
Carina Listerborn
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis
Language:
eng
Page:
11-33
DOI:
10.1080/14649357.2016.1264615
Abstract:

In the process of turning the post-industrial city of Malmö, Sweden, into a knowledge-based, creative city, new urban planning strategies and visions are being developed. An important component of developing the “knowledge city” is the spatial conceptualization for renewal of urban life. One such concept introduced in Malmö is “the 4th urban environment” (det 4.e stadsrummet). In this article, based on critical urban studies, the development, branding, and practice of the 4th urban environment as a strategy to generate a creative economy and knowledge city is critically analyzed as part of a neoliberal planning discourse. The article raises the question, what kind of vision is “the 4th urban environment”? What is it an expression of; what does it mean for planning practice and to urban development? Contextualizing and investigating trends of neoliberal planning ideas are important to an understanding of the social and economic consequences of unequal power relations. The 4th urban environment and its application in Malmö is illustrative of existing neoliberal planning practices in a Nordic context, and in other similar economies with legacies of redistribution policies and longstanding leadership of the Social Democratic Party. This article focuses on what is articulated within discourses that re-present particular notions of space and place, to gain a better understanding of what neoliberal planning does to space.

Keywords:
Neoliberal planning 4th urban environment visioning city branding