A Collaboration Pro

One of the main architects behind the creation of the Flemingsberg of the future has taken the next step on her career path. After five years as Area Strategist, Signe Wernberg is setting up her own company to help other areas achieve success.

Signe has been Area Strategist for Huddinge municipality’s development of Flemingsberg for the past five years. She knows the area and all the parties involved in the project well.

“I’m driven by seeing how an area can develop through my efforts to create collaboration between a raft of different actors that are needed for an area to succeed,” explains Signe.

A responsive listener
For Signe, the past few years have involved projects large and small and assignments related to the development of Flemingsberg. Larger-scale projects included the establishment of a common vision for Flemingsberg in 2050. To do this, it was necessary to create consensus between major actors such as Stockholm Region and the municipalities of Huddinge and Botkyrka. Meanwhile, public and private actors have benefitted from the focus on Flemingsberg.

“We had to quickly identify what strategies we needed to achieve our goal, and then ensure work aligned with these strategies in each process. To do this, you have to understand respective actors’ objectives,” she says.

Signe worked at Huddinge municipality for a total of seven years. Prior to that, she handled property negotiations for the Swedish Transport Administration, a role that laid the foundations for her ability to listen and to reach solutions that people are happy with.

“First, you need to know what you want to achieve. From there, you can take on board each party’s perspective, and only then can you reach a solution. Flemingsberg required intense interaction, which in itself was extremely interesting and enjoyable to be part of,” she says.

Perhaps it is the real estate economist in her who drives her infectious optimism for the development of Flemingsberg. Few areas in the Stockholm region have such good prospects as Flemingsberg, she says.

“In terms of property development, there are three decisive factors: location, location, and location. And Flemingsberg has a fantastic location with its unique access to local, regional, and national public transport links,” says Signe.

“In addition, a vibrant campus is growing here side by side with an active legal centre. Daily life here is also flourishing due to all the residents who already live in the area.”

Avoid gentrification
Meanwhile, there are several challenges to achieving the 2050 vision. One of them is to ensure that everyone, including today’s residents, feels involved in the development of the area. In the future, former municipality housing projects will be next door to new-build developments with modern homes, offices and workplaces.

“It’s a tough balancing act with the very best results needing to be the right mix of housing and not feel like gentrification. Strategies will be required that can develop Flemingsberg as a place to live for a very broad target group.”

At the same time, there is strong demand among residents for an opportunity to climb the property ladder. And there the solution is more mixed forms of housing than exists today. Another challenge lies in avoiding the creation of isolated “islands” of development.

“We really want to avoid creating new examples of urban development where different areas don’t belong together but are separated by palpable boundaries. And this is a challenge, especially today when several different groups are collaborating in parallel.

“It’s also important that communication about Flemingsberg is co-ordinated so that the outside world gets a joined up idea of what’s going on. When we really succeed in conveying the whole picture, an impressive image emerges.”

Flemingsberg Science’s contribution to the development of Flemingsberg has been one of the keys to success, she says.

“Flemingsberg Science’s work has brought together stakeholders on campus, which has been hugely significant in creating the cohesive campus we see today.”

She likes to spend her free time with the Scouts; she has been a leader in the movement for most of her adult life, apart from when her three children were small.

“In the Scouts you get the opportunity to furnish young people with important life skills. To learn to take care of oneself, to work in a group, and to identify each other’s strengths. You’re not strong alone, but with others you can achieve so much,” says Signe.

Three key focus areas for the future development of Flemingsberg

Vibrant ground floors and spaces. Neither retail of the future, nor city centres will resemble those of today, but nobody really knows how they will look. Therefore, you have to work collaboratively on these trends.

Community, cultural, and sports activities. There is a need to strengthen community activities in Flemingsberg: this would create an inclusivity that will be needed in the future.

Strengthen Flemingsberg’s identity. What role will Flemingsberg play in the region in future? To answer that question, a broad collaborative effort is required among all parties.

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