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Doktorsavhandling2024Öppen tillgång

Urban densification considering sense of place and environmental justice – or not

Shahrad, Azadeh


Rapid urbanisation is a major transformative driving force of continuous and contested changes in socio-spatial urban structure. Such changes can lead to sociospatial injustice especially when they involve marginalised populations. Managing rapid urbanisation thus requires goal-oriented inclusive urban planning and policies to secure sustainable development. The theory of environmental justice, as distributive justice, recognition justice, and procedural justice, has been developed in urban planning literature. The experience of justice – or the lack thereof – also affects sense of place, which in relation to urban change includes how people experience, relate to and create meaning in urban spaces. This thesis aims to deepen the understanding of the interplay between sense of place and issues of environmental justice in relation to urban densification in Swedish stigmatised neighbourhoods. The thesis is based on a case study with multiple sampling techniques: document analysis, visual discourse analysis, photo elicitation, and interviews with residents, planners and stakeholders. The first paper focuses on the role of media in creating discourses concerning e.g. safety and security and how these discourses impact the creation of socio-spatial injustice. The second paper concentrates on the impact of an urban densification project to shed light on issues of environmental justice and public participation. In the third paper, the concept of sense of densification is introduced, and it examines how densification projects affect residents’ lives, both in outcomes and as processes. The thesis concludes that the combined knowledge about sense of place and environmental justice research from an urban planning standpoint can provide a greater understanding of how to motivate residents to act collectively to improve their community and participate in local planning processes. This is important for planners and stakeholders, in order to strengthen a sustainable planning and design process by understanding and honouring the value of local meanings of places.


environmental justice; sense of place; densification; urban planning; sense of densification

Publicerad i

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2024, nummer: 2024:44ISBN: 978-91-8046-260-0, eISBN: 978-91-8046-261-7
Utgivare: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences