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Doctoral thesis, 2011

Horse keeping in peri-urban areas

Elgåker, Hanna


The number of horses in Sweden has increased from 70 000 to almost 300 000 in 30 years. Today these horses are to a large extent kept for the purpose of hobby and leisure and create a substantial land use but link a diverse and a large amount of activities in peri-urban areas in Sweden. The sector contributes with new economic, social and physical possibilities, but also with conflicts between various stakeholders and interests. The overall aim of this work was to contribute to increased understanding of the new and diverse equine sector as a factor for peri-urban landscape development, with stakeholders’ as well as public perspectives. Specific objectives were to map out the influence of the equine sector on the development of multifunctional land use in peri-urban areas and to analyze stakeholder experiences and attitudes towards horse keeping as a land use. Further to outline specific features of horse keeping in peri-urban areas as a new and expanding area of research and to determine the significance of the issue within the broader context of land use and spatial planning. The thesis focuses two issues connected to the Swedish context; set back distances between residential areas and horse keeping and the right of public access. Methods used were questionnaire studies, interviews, participatory observations and studies of media reports. The overall results show a substantial land use not well described by current methods for analyzing and managing land use change. The results from the Swedish issues set back distances between residential areas and horse keeping and the right of public access illustrates both in different ways the partly problematic meeting between the current system for spatial planning and the emerging equine sector as a new land use with conflicts both between involved stake holders and also within the planning system itself. In conclusion a need for spatial planning with both a top down and a bottom up perspective is pointed out for managing this sector allowing it to take place at a local as well as at a regional and national level.


saddle horses; livestock farms; suburban areas; sectoral planning; land use; surveys; public opinion; right of access; sweden

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2011, number: 2011:7
ISBN: 978-91-576-7576-7
Publisher: Department of Rural Building and Animal Husbandry, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Rural Buildings and Animal Husbandry [LBT]

UKÄ Subject classification

Physical Geography

URI (permanent link to this page)