Social Sustainability

The Institute for Urban Research seeks to consolidate existing research on vulnerable groups in the city, conflicts emanating from ethnic, gender and class inequalities, and conflicts and vulnerabilities stemming from recent immigration.

The current wave of urbanization has given rise to a range of new urban visions that increasingly inform policy-making practices: smart city, resilient city, shared city, sustainable city, etc. What they have in common is that precisely social issues and the place of weaker groups in cities remains underemphasized both in research and in practice. The Institute for Urban Research wants to understand, as an overall research question, how issues of social sustainability can gain a more prominent place in urban policies and urban research. Social sustainability will be placed in a historical perspective since it cannot be understood unless we understand what they build on. Social sustainability will be placed in its geographical context to understand where sustainability concepts originate and in what ways they travel and find implementation elsewhere. In times of increasing urban polarization, segregation and inequality, the Institute seeks to play a prominent in giving urban social sustainability a more prominent role on the policy and research agenda.

Research Projects

Social Sustainability and Area-Based Interventions for Stigmatized Neighborhoods: A Comparison of Malmö and Berlin

This project analyses the role area-based interventions (ABIs) play in the process of territorial stigmatization from a comparative, Swedish-German, perspective and thereby seeks to contribute to our understanding of socially sustainability urban development. Research has shown that stigma adds to existing disadvantages and threatens social cohesion. Studies of how institutions confront or reproduce territorial stigma […]

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Revisiting Allmänningar & Stråk. Spatial Justice in the 21st Century Urban-Rural Land Regime

Densification, privatisation and polarisation in the post-industrial urban-rural landscape, risks leading to unsustainable, unequal and unjust access to and distribution of valued public spaces in support of recreation, health, democratic influence and freedom of movement. In contrast to this development, the aim of the project is to investigate spatial justice by analysing usage and planning […]

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Public health, epidemics and urban planning: reinstating the connection

Project leader: Guy Baeten Background After waves of epidemic outbreaks in rapidly growing cities in Europe during the 19th century, public health concerns and the containment of epidemics became a key informant for housing provision, urban planning and urban design. The attention paid to public health and disease prevention in the 19th and early 20th […]

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Sustainable Infrastructures in Times of Scarcity: Improvements in Planning by Learning from the Global South

The project gathers relevant stakeholders in Sweden, Vietnam, Malawi and the US in a workshop to identify relevant areas for research collaboration on sustainable urban planning focusing on infrastructure. The project addresses the UN’s global goals on sustainable cities, transport infrastructures, and municipalities and regions’ need to develop partnerships on behalf of collaboration platforms for […]

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Societal values and consequences of integrating geosystem services into subsurface planning

Important benefits for society are derived from the subsurface. It provides a range of geosystem services (GS): extraction of groundwater, energy and materials, space for underground constructions and storing (e.g. water, energy, CO2), and archive of cultural and geological heritage. GS are currently not systematically considered in planning processes: the first come, first served principle […]

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Open Archive: Urban Research and Covid-19

Urban studies, urban planning and urban design have historically played a pivotal role in the combat against epidemics. Friedrich Engels’ 1846 classic work ‘The Condition of the Working Class in England’ that illustrated the miserable 19th century living conditions in England, relied significantly on epidemiological evidence from large industrial cities such as Manchester and Liverpool, […]

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Consumption, everyday racism and everyday resistance

In January 2019, the company Gucci had to withdraw a shirt from the market after accusations that it resembled a blackface In 2018, H&M withdrew a hoodie picturing a black child with the text “Coolest monkey in the jungle,” after massive international and national anti-racist critique. These are only a few of many events in […]

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Norra Sorgenfri planerat, bebott och problematiserat: social hållbarhets roll i stadsutvecklingen

  • 2018-2021
  • Guy Baeten , Carina Listerborn , Erik Jönsson (Project leader , Uppsala University) , Johan Pries (SLU) , Mattias Qviström (SLU) , Burcu Yigit Turan (SLU)

In this project we bring together researchers from four disciplines at three universities to study how social sustainability takes shape through the redevelopment of Norra Sorgenfri. In this industrial area close to Malmö’s city centre, the vision is to create a residential neighbourhood where attractive and safe public spaces should both enhance life within the […]

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Allmänningen revisited [att göra allmänning/ar]

Allmänningen revisited [att göra allmänning/ar] is an investigation based in architecture and art. The aim of the project is to investigate historical changes in two allmänningar [commons] and the consequence it has on peoples’ access and appropriation of public places in the current urban/rural landscape. Allmänningen revisited is part of PROCESSES, an exhibition curated by […]

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Cultivating Public Spaces: urban agriculture as a basis for human flourishing and sustainability transition in Norwegian cities

‘Cultivating Public Spaces’ is an interdisciplinary and internationally oriented project addressing the potentials of urban agriculture (UA) as a driving force of a sustainability transition in contemporary Norwegian cities. Our major focus is social sustainability, in particular the concerns related to the quality of life and social justice in a compact city. In addition, we […]

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Governing private provision of public space: developing governance models and urban design that ensure inclusive, democratic public space

The main objective of the project is to enquire how governance models and urban design can ensure inclusive and democratic public space. The objective is addressed from interdisciplinary and international perspectives. The challenges of the new practice of private provision of public space are studied through the lenses of law, political science, political theory, architecture, […]

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Local and regional collaboration in crime prevention – a national strategy

The project aims to evaluate the implementation of a “Methodologic support to the Swedish Police against organized crime locally and in exposed areas”. The evaluation has a specific focus on collaboration with organizations outside the police authority. Researchers from Malmö University work as follow-researchers with various approaches, methods and areas of interest depending on the […]

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MISTRA Urban Futures South Sweden

  • 2015 - 2020

Mistra Urban Futures addresses one of today’s key societal challenges: How can sustainable urban development be achieved within our planet’s boundaries? Its vision is to create sustainable urbanisation where cities are accessible, green and fair. Its mission is to generate and use knowledge for transitions towards sustainable urban futures through reflective co-creation at local and global […]

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Planning vis-a-vis Real Estate Development: a study of the social, spatial and ideological implications of market-oriented urban planning

The wide spread of market-oriented discourses within urban and regional planning in fact suggests that there is an acceptance for the idea that governmental investments constitute a precondition for the private sector’s development. The proposed study aims at analysing the role of governmental strategies, municipal strategies in particular, in providing spaces for private sector investments, […]

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