SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities

Hyresgästföreningen (Tenants association) is one of Sweden’s biggest popular movements. With their 540.000 member households they possess a resource of one million people being experts on living. As part of their philosophy, Hyresgästföreningen view their member households as a valuable resource and are happy to include them to participate in urban development processes. The sooner everybody participates – the better. Their work with sustainable urban development can be found in many different attributes and contexts. Hyresgästföreningen gladly participates as an important actor in societal development planning and processes.

Hyresgästföreningen’s Aims and Vision
Hyresgästföreningen believes in sustainable urban development and acts in accordance with that vision. It should be fun to live – this vision is applicable when planning all kinds of housing, businesses, services and meeting spaces. Hyresgästföreningen understands sustainable urban development as: Living cities and communities; Green structure and ‘blue areas’; Safe communities and cities; Diverse and attractive constructions. To achieve social sustainability, Hyresgästföreningen work in accordance with its own LITA-model (VISA in English) – Vivid, Inclusive, Safe and Attractive. By following the principle of LITA, positive outcomes related to economic and environmental sustainability will also emerge.

Social sustainability is achieved through ability to engage and influence in societal processes. It is of importance to capture the voice of the people and take into account and mirror the diversity of the society. Regardless of who you are and what your needs are, you have to be taken into account and be listened to. That will strengthen the possibilities to achieve sustainable development – according to the SDGs. Furthermore, environmental aspects also have to be taken into account in order to achieve sustainable urban planning. Green areas, vegetation and water presence are all important elements to the broader experience. Wildlife benefits from careful urban planning, people appreciate and want to live in such surroundings. By introducing ‘soft areas’, it will strengthen cities’ resilience by e.g. collecting rainwater or be adaptable to the effects deriving from climate change. It makes the city more resilient.

To plan cities after the LITA-model, we will create more sustainable, pleasant and attractive spaces for people to use. A well taken care of community sends out signals that people care about their local area and might even lead to a sense of being proud of living there. Some might view sustainable city planning as complication of an already complex process, however that is in fact the opposite. A sustainable approach provides framework and structure to urban planning, as well as enjoyment in planning the city together.

Study Circles on Sustainable Urban Development
Hyresgästföreningen has in cooperation with ABF Stockholm (Workers’ Educational Association) developed materials for study circles. The material is based on the LITA-model. Based on LITA’s four pillars, the purpose of the study circle is to discuss sustainable urban development. Participants will analyse the questions from their own neighborhood or occurring situations in their everyday life. The main goal is to give space for participants to discuss the questions based on their reality. Best practices in one neighborhood are not necessarily best practices when applied to another context. It is important to acknowledge those differences. It can be challenging visualising such nuances, still it is very rewarding and exciting in the end. The main idea of the study circles is to generate a forum where everyone can share their experiences and knowledge, while at the same time learn from each other. Democracy and participation are two pillar stones within the study circles, everybody should feel as if they have the opportunity to participate and contribute. This is what makes study circles a great working method to include citizens in the city planning process, as it is socially awarding, creative and promotes learning.

For more information about Hyresgästföreningen, click here.

For more information about Global Utmaning’s Sweden Local2030 Hub, click here.

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Project: Sweden Local2030 Hub