Two-year postdoc position in Urban Development

  • June 16, 2020
  • Claudia Fonseca

Revisiting Allmänningar and Stråk: Spatial Justice in the 21st century Urban-Rural Land Regime

Please note that fluency in Swedish is a requirement for this position. The postdoc is expected to be hired during autumn/winter 2020. Last day to apply through the Malmö University portal, September 15th.

Job ID: REK 2020/156

The aim of the project is to investigate spatial justice by analysing usage and planning of public spaces that connect urban-rural environments and socio-economic different neighbourhoods in the post-industrial landscape. The research project ‘revisits’ the Old Norse concepts of allmänning [commons] and stråk [pathways]. Both these concepts represent publicly accessible places that people have a right to use and a right to move through – aspects of central importance for a socially and environmentally sustainable development.

In the post-industrial landscape, public spaces are dispersed and isolated. While there is a decrease in both accessibility to and the size of public space per inhabitant in cities, there is simultaneously an increase in new public spaces, such as pocket-parks, outdoor gyms, social events, and pedestrian paths. In rural areas, wetlands and urban fringes are transformed into recreational areas and so-called beträdor [walk-on’s] on private farmland made available to the public. But this contradictory transformation of urban and rural environments does not develop evenly, and there is a risk that socio-economically vulnerable groups are hit hardest by densification and privatisation.

The research team will analyse statistics, carry out interviews, map socio-economic differences, and, map commons and pathways in nine cases in the three Southern municipalities of Malmö, Lund and Staffanstorp. The project is organized around three inter-related work packages and research questions:

  • WP 1. HISTORICAL TRACES. What are the historical definitions of Allmänning/commons and Stråk/pathways? Where were key historical commons and pathways located? For which activities are (remnants of) these spaces still used?
  • WP 2. PLANNING. How are ideological-political assumptions about use-value and mobility expressed in planning pathways and commons, and to what extent is urban-rural connectivity considered and implemented in planning?
  • WP 3. PRACTICES. How do users appropriate commons and pathways, which activities do users identify as significant, what negotiations take place between individuals and groups and how does use and movement patterns vary between socio-economic and urban-rural locations?

The project evolves around a collaborative network consisting of officials from regional institutions; an international expert group of scholars and artists who analyse, design and map community-oriented and environmental aspects of public space; a higher education network, and, the strong research environments at Malmö, Alnarp and Roskilde universities. A wide range of mapping activities, seminars, workshops, walk-alongs and interventions will facilitate inclusion of user and activist groups, of professionals, artist, students and researchers alike – aiming to support co-production of knowledge and accessibility to results, and, to boost the projects contribution to education and to the surrounding society. Results will be presented in international research articles, a co-authored book based on the maps produced throughout the research project, and, an exhibition at the end of the project.

The project is funded through the Formas initiative Sustainable Living Environments [Gestaltad Livsmiljö] and runs between 2019 and 2022. The research team consists of:

  • Principal investigator Karin Grundström, Associate Professor at the Department of Urban Studies, Malmö University
  • David Pinder, Professor at People and Technology, Roskilde University, Denmark
  • Anders Larsson, Senior lecturer at Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management, the University for Agricultural Sciences/Alnarp
  • Peter Parker, Senior lecturer at the Department of Urban Studies, Malmö University
  • Martin Grander, Researcher at the Department of Urban Studies, Malmö University
  • Cecilia Wendt, Independent artist

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