How do we create a better Stockholm for all with smarter town planning? The answer is set to emerge from one of Södertörn University’s largest ever research projects. With a budget of SEK 32 million, Apostolis Papakostas is leading companies and academia on a three-year journey of knowledge discovery.
The “Revival of Suburbs in Fragmented Landscapes” Project will see Södertörn University become a meeting place and a forum for discussion about to build and plan the cities of the future, says Apostolis Papakostas, professor and lead researcher.
“Sparking debate is a key aspect of efforts to get town planning higher up the agenda. We also hope that many people will get involved, from business, authorities and the rest of civil society.”
The project’s first 18 months will see knowledge acquisition and collection, as well as detailed studies of a number of selected areas in south Stockholm.
“The areas that we’ll study are those where strong growth has been reported or is underway,” he says.
Pooling experiences and knowledge
The aim is to subsequently be able to highlight those initiatives that have worked well and implement them elsewhere. The project brings together figures from academia, business and society, each of which offer unique knowledge.
“Flemingsberg Science is one such actor that works in a specific area, Subtopia is another. By pooling experiences and knowledge, we hope to create a knowledge bank that can be used by everyone engaged in future town planning and societal development,” explains Papakostas.
Flemingsberg is among the areas that may be studied closer, due to its current strong growth in both employment and housing. Others would be the conversion of the Gustavsberg industrial area on the island of Värmdö, and the new harbour area in Nynäshamn and its impact on the surrounding community.
“Hopefully, we can help society avoid some of the mistakes that have previously been made in town planning. This will be achieved by sharing knowledge with those who plan and build cities, partly through training where knowledge is a part of students’ skill sets.
Entrepreneurship an important aspect
Some 15 researchers from Södertörn University are currently involved in the project, including economists, company accountants and sociologists.
“Entrepreneurship is also an important aspect that drives employment, something that is in great demand south of Stockholm.”
Today, there is also a clear political interest in supporting change as, for example, part of the regional developmental planning for Stockholm RUFS 2010, he adds.
“Our ambition is to create a more attractive city where we breakdown isolation. The alternative is to walk by and watch as cars burn and society collapses,” says Papakostas.
Reviving the suburbs
The project will last for three years and is being conducted together with the business community. Research and practical exercises will go hand in hand. Its budget is around SEK 32 million. The Knowledge Foundation and participating companies are providing approximately 85 per cent. The remaining share is financed by Södertörn University.
Project partners include:
- WSP Sverige AB
- HUI Research AB
- HUGE Fastigheter AB
- MittAlby AB
- Flemingsberg Science