Social Space and Daily Commuting

Lena Hopsch

Project Period: 2014-2015
Type: Senior research project
Program Area(s): Material Conditions, Architects in Formation


To develop urban station communities is one way to plan for a sustainable way of living. It is about how to design for quality of life, spaces and places for living, working, meeting and travel. Public transport is also a milieu that strips away social levering. This is a knowledge building project aiming at illustrate an area that need new knowledge and innovation. Starting with a case study of Ale municipality it aims at cooperation between stakeholders and users. Ale, with 28.000 inhabitants, is a municipality with some smaller trade centers and industries along Göta River. The development of a new railway for commuter traffic and a new motorway placed Ale nearer to Gothenburg. The situation reminds of an island suddenly getting a bridge to the mainland and where the inhabitant was not prepared for this change.

The method consists of observations and interviews analyzed with a phenomenological perspective. ‘Place memory’, embodiment and situated knowledge are notions within phenomenology and cognitive research that links to: Heritage/mind mapping, history/transformation and identity/character. These could be used as catalysts for an (urban) sustainable development pointing out new perspectives for thinking and acting.
Urban station communities – what are they and what will they become? Which unique lifestyle values could be threatened by exploitation? How can we build public space that is not anonymous? And, instead develop public spaces providing a sense of ownership and belonging?

Researcher(s) Bio and Publications