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Urbanisation in Sweden

© Amarande Lingon
Le Chapman est une auberge de jeunesse située au cœur de Stockholm
Nowadays urbanisation concerns more than 84% of population in Sweden. But in the 19th century population was in majority rural. In 1930 Sweden counts 50% of rural inhabitants and 50% of urban people. Therefore urbanisation is recent and was a fast phenomenon in Sweden.

The three major urban area of Sweden are respectively Stockholm, Göteborg and Malmö. It is interesting to study their positions in urban hierarchy in a historical period. Öhman* takes lists of towns in Sweden in 1800 and 2005 classifying by population. He compares with expected position according to Christaller theory. It appears that during these 205 years hierarchy changes very much except for Stockholm and Göteborg. 17 towns improve their positions, 11 decrease in hierarchy and 20 disappear when 20 others arrive. Explanations are various: decline of industrialisation, new aspect of services, fast development…

The position of Stockholm in comparison to other gives us indications about the country. And it appears that primacy decrease with the fast development of Göteborg (49 times between the two dates). To sum up Sweden is closer to the Christaller theory in 2005 which says that population size is in relation with the place of town in the urban hierarchy.

Urbanisation phenomena could be regarded more specifically in the Stockholm region. During our field day we have observed a variety of projects corresponding to different ages, actors, goals…

Norra Ängby was the older project. Idea was to offer a good life to working class with a own-dwelling near to countryside. District looks egalitarian with similitude in buildings. We have also seen that district is now an expensive area of Stockholm more for little family (one child) and a new development of buildings in Södra Ängby for elderly.

Tensta and Vällingby illustrate the period of multi-family dwelling and the million home program. Idea was in ten years to build one million homes in Sweden to counteract the shortage of dwelling. Main idea is represented by Vällingby, a multi-dwelling district concentred around the subway station with the commercial and services for the everyday life. These different public projects were around 1950s (Vällingby) 1970s and we can see different problem and new issues: rehabilitation (new mall in Vällingby; rental flat to owned flat in Tensta) segregation…

Globen represents bigger visible project with private investors, buildings companies. Globen is composed by an arena, a mall, offices and residential function. Globen was put in link with urban transport and now is a famous place for big events, festivals in Sweden.

Nationalstadsparken shows a great image of Stockholm = the green town. It is also in link with a particularity of urban movements in Sweden: the environment. It represents the struggle of 1971 around some trees that municipality wanted to cut for infrastructure.

Bibliographie sélective :
ANDERSSON R., (2007), Ethnic Residential Segregation and Integration Processes in Sweden, p 61-90, dans Residential Segregation and the Integration of Immigrants: Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden
GULLBERG A., KAIJSER A., (2004), City-Building Regimes in Post-War Stockholm, p 13-39, dans Journal of Urban Technology, vol. 11 n° 2
HERMELIN Brita, (2008), The space economies of services, dans The Geography of Sweden
LUNDMARK Mats, (2008), Industrial development in Sweden 1750-2000, dans The Geography of Sweden
MALMBERG Bo, (2008), Population and development in Sweden 1750-2000, dans The Geography of Sweden
*ÖHMAN Jan, (2008), “The Swedish city system - spaces of competition 1800-2005”, dans The Geography of Sweden
STAHRE Ulf, (2004), City in Change: Globalisation, Local Politics and Urban Movements in Contemporary Stockholm, p 68-85, dans International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, vol. 28 n° 1