Housing and Urban Renewal

The housing question is arguably the largest contemporary urban challenge in northern countries. The current housing crisis is generally described as a housing shortage. According to the Swedish Housing Board there is a need for 440 000 additional dwellings between 2016 and 2020 – the size of another Stockholm municipality – or 88 000 additional dwellings per year. Sweden has the lowest rate of housing construction in relation to the population growth, even though construction activities have increased lately. This implies that the housing shortage is growing year by year, in spite of recently increased construction activity. Sweden, with its low housing production, has the highest level of overcrowding in the Nordic world: 14 pct of the population lives in overcrowded dwellings in 2016 – up from 10 pct in 2007. The number of young people who continue to live with their parents is higher than ever before. Meanwhile, housing prices continue to rise. Sweden now belongs to the most housing debt-laden advanced economies.

Our contribution to the research field will be to investigate how we can redefine the basic housing question in Swedish cities as a question of housing inequality (growing unequal distribution) rather than merely a housing shortage (that can be built away by developers). By problematizing acute urban issues in new ways, we seek to find innovative solutions. Housing is increasingly unevenly distributed amongst income groups, resulting in a growing housing precariat and decreasing housing wealth on one side of the spectrum, and in growing housing ownership and housing wealth on the other side. Interpreting the housing crisis not as a problem of mere shortage – that may be built away under favourable market conditions – but as housing inequality forces us to come with new questions and innovative solutions.

Research Projects

Financialization of everyday life in Sweden. Intersectional perspectives on housing and labor precarity

This project analyses the financialization of everyday life in Sweden, how it originates in the recent shifts in the housing system, how it relates to changes in the labor market, how it embeds itself within socio-spatial relations and their gendered and racialized structures.  Swedish households have never been in as much debt as they are […]

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Sharing Housing in Times of Housing Inequality

The aim of the project is to investigate housing inequality by analysing why and how, privileged and vulnerable groups respectively, are sharing housing. In the aftermath of housing crises, increasing inequality and soaring singles populations, we currently witness the rise of individuals sharing housing with non-family members. Individuals (i.e. singletons) sharing housing is a new […]

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Planning for equal social sustainability at the intersection of social policy and housing policy

  • 2020
  • Chiara Valli , Stina Hansson (project leader) , Nazem Tahvilzadeh , Klara Öberg

The housing crisis in Sweden is primarily characterized by inequality. The dominating response, i.e. to build new housing based on market principles, will not solve the problem of structural homelessness, overcrowding and insecure tenure for people excluded from the possibility of choosing where and how to live. Instead, these problems land in the lap of […]

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Transnational Financialization: Understanding Uneven Urban Development Across Borders

The purpose of this pilot project is to explore how uneven urban development can be understood across borders. It departs from the premise that as large investors are operating internationally, it has become inapt to tackle issues of housing affordability, inequality and gentrification only within one urban setting. The first case study engages with Stockholm’s Husby […]

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Studies in Housing and Welfare

Studies in Housing and Welfare is an interdisciplinary research environment on research that affects housing in a social context characterized by constant change. Issues about housing have become increasingly intrusive in our time. Housing is intimately linked to questions about identity and well-being, but also to our future life possibilities, for example in terms of […]

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CRUSH – Critical Urban Sustainability Hub

CRUSH brings together around 15 researchers from Göteborg, Malmö, Lund and Uppsala and wants to be a research platform with an international outlook on critical perspectives on urban sustainable development, and with a prime focus on Sweden’s acute housing crisis. Its overall focus is on the housing crisis (and related urban issues: displacement, eviction, gentrification) […]

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Politicising uneven regional development: Towards socially responsible geographies

This interdisciplinary research project brings together theories from human geography, planning and political science to scrutinize how uneven development is addressed and dealt with in Swedish regional policy and planning. While much of current research on regional development focuses on economic production, this research projects deals with political, democratic and socio-spatial aspects of regional development. […]

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