Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Urban planning for car-free housing and ideas of future desired states

Berglund-Snodgrass L


Planning for car-free housing has emerged as a solution for accomplishing sustainable urban development. Therehas been a tendency among researchers and policy makers to understand car-free housing in terms of “lifestyle poli-tics”, where change is advanced by fostering morally or socially inspired lifestyle choices. The aim of this article isto situate lifestyle politics in a context of broader urban development by analysing ideas of future desired states thatunderpin planning for car-free housing, so as to allow for a critical discussion around what long-term urban futuresurban planning wants to accomplish through such housing. By drawing from Mukhtar-Landgren’s conceptual pairof planning object and subject, and examining documents and formal correspondence relating to four examples ofplanning car-free housing in Sweden, the study shows three different ideas of the future that underpin the planningwhich includes different assumptions of sustainable mobility, individuals and urban planning: Planning for (1) “anoptimized system”, which includes assumptions of rational objects which travel efficiently; (2) “individual freedom”,which includes assumptions of independent consumers which travel rightly; and (3) “community and togetherness”,which includes assumptions of individuals being part of a community which travels less.


car-free housing; sustainability; future; urban planning

Published in

Nordic Journal of Urban Studies
2022, Volume: 2, number: 1, pages: 63-81
Publisher: Scandinavian University Press / Universitetsforlaget {AS}

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)