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

Adriana de La Peña Espinosa New Publication housing, Sweden

A new article from IUR researcher Chiara Valli, together with Maja Stalevska and Dragan Kusevski has been published in Urban Affairs Review with the title: The Business of Improving Neighborhoods. A Critical Overview of Neighborhood-Based Business Improvement Districts (NBIDs) in Sweden. (Open access!)

Link: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/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.