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Planning for appropriation : public space led development to integrate a fragmented city

Parker, Peter; Johansson, Magnus; Delshammar, Tim


In a recent effort the municipality of Malmö, Sweden has sought to in-crease citizen involvement and active participation in the governance of public space as a platform for creating social integration and raising the sta-tus of stigmatized areas. It is hoped that the citizens themselves once these platforms are available will contribute to reversing the stigmatization of an area both by addressing undesirable behaviors directly but also indirectly through the symbolic value created by cared-for public space. The central concern of this paper is the comparison of three attempts by the municipal-ity at creating forms co-governance of public space as a means of social integration along a central path or route connecting affluent parts of the city with less affluent and stigmatized areas. The examples illustrate what may be considered planning for appropriation, where local government ac-tively encourages specific groups to appropriate public space in order to shape social interaction. The first case analyzed is an attempt to break-up the mono-functional housing in the area by introducing small shops and thus create a greater diversity and increasing the number of ‘eyes on the street'. The second case concerns encouraging the use of municipal parks for community gardening, once again to increase diversity and presence in underused space but also to build social capital and efficacy in a broad sense. The third case is concerned with creating an outdoor cultural event space to be co-run by the municipality and residents. This event space is also tailored toward providing young women with an opportunity to shape public space. The cases are analyzed in the light of policy making and also in the light of general discussions on the politics of public space.

Published in

Title: The Second ISA Forum of Sociology - Social Justice and Democratization - Book of Abstracts