Rethinking the Social in Architecture: The Case of Kvillebäcken.

Catharina Thörn with Katarina Despotovic

Project Period: 2012-2013
Type: Senior Research Project
Program Area(s): Material Conditions/Critical Projections


In international research cities are often described as nodes in a global economy and as a result of inter-urban competition many cities work hard to brand themselves on the global market (Sassen 2005, Short & Kim 1999, Hannigan 2003). This kind of city politics is often is sometimes referred to as urban entrepreneurship (Harvey 1989). Some of the most common strategies are investments in physical infrastructure, “industrial villages”, tourist attractions and new arenas for consumption (Hall & Hubbard 1997).

But recently a new area of marketing cities has evolved - the green city or the sustainable city. According to McCann & Ward (2010) we live in an era of fast policy transfer - that is cities compete to become the best practice or best model in sustainable urban development. As a result certain urban development projects in the city are used as display windows for policy models developed by the city. In Sweden there is an ongoing competition between Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö who will be the first to develop methods and policies for urban sustainable development. In Gothenburg Kvillebäcken is the area that is promoted to be a display window - not only for ecological urban development but also for being a good example on social sustainability (Boverket 2010).

Researcher(s) Bio and Publications