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Förnyelselabbet

Förnyelselabbet was founded with a mission to work with user-driven innovation in order to meet complex social challenges, shaping methods and processes for this in working first on the reception of new arrivals in Sweden in autumn 2015 and onwards.

Good practices & Solutions

Operations include mapping of user needs and inclusion of stakeholders according to context. Users provide a substantial part of the background to problem formulations and analysis. The lab as a concept is valued highly because it allows for small-scale experimentation in multi- stakeholder innovation. Förnyelselabbet has furthermore established various smaller lab contexts of user interaction in several municipalities in and outside the Stockholm region in order to enhance the capacity of local stakeholders for working with social sustainability.

Related SDGs

3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

11.  By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries

16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels

17.17 Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships

Further reading

Förnyelselabbet 

Naturen på lika villkor

Studiefrämjandet is an adult educational association that offers education, lectures, workshops and cultural arrangements. They cooperates with municipalities and county administrative boards and investigates how accessible the outdoor life is and form recommendations on how to improve it. By helping municipalities to apply for fundings, actions to improve the outdoor life can be made.
Challenges

Individuals with functional variations are, still, in many ways excluded from nature areas and nature exploration, although experiencing nature and green areas is considered a fundamental human right.

Good practices & Solutions

Studiefrämjandet, a citizen-driven educational institution, co- initiated the application for funding for “Naturen på lika villkor” with NGOs Naturskyddsföreningen and Hjärnskadeförbundet (the Brain Damage Society) because they realised that they shared certain problem definitions and visions for change.

Further into the project, an associate of the Stockholm County Administrative Board accidentally learned about the project and became spontaneously intrigued by it after initiating a meeting with the coordinators from Studiefrämjandet the Administrative Board joined in as a funder and supporter of Naturen på lika villkor. Thus, the project has been cross-sectorial from the start. The project has since spawned a series of joint walks and events for promoting the expanded use of nature among the target groups, thus exploring ways of empowering and inspiring the various groups.

Related SDGs
  • 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  • 10.3 Ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, including by eliminating discriminatory laws, policies and practices and promoting appropriate legislation, policies and action in this regard
  • 11.4 Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage
  • 11.7 By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities
  • 14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  • 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  • 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
Further reading

Studiefrämjandet 

Södra Skanstull

Skanstull South is evolving into an area with reduced barriers for interaction and sustainable transport, while the pollution from surrounding traffic routes is being mitigated by positioning new buildings such that the backsides of the buildings are facing towards the roads. The Eriksdalsbadet swimming centre and the Trädgården music and arts hub are being supported and developed because they are deemed valuable meeting points for youth and people of other ages from all of south Stockholm, connecting residents from different areas and districts and helping to foster inclusion.

For the overall urban scheme, the city engaged three architectural firms in a parallel assignment. The best ideas were moulded together into the final concept (by one of the three firms). The different stakeholders were then asked to invite their own architects to pursue their projects within the overall framework. Thus, commitment from all stakeholders was secured. Meanwhile, local residents and civil and private organisations were involved in formulating needs and ideas for future development. Parts of Skanstull South belong to the civil defence infrastructure, which gives The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) an important say in its future use.

Related SDGs
  • 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  • 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
  • 11.2 By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons
  • 11.3 By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
  • 11.6 By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
  • 11.7 By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities
  • 15.9 By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts
  • 16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels
Further reading

White Arkitekter 

Hållbar utveckling 2022 Initiative

Hållbar Utveckling is a platform offering education and knowledge exchange about sustainable development, particularly targeting SMEs, larger companies, and public institutions. It was founded in 2012 by CEO Helena Lindemark.

One notable initiative from Hållbar Utveckling is the 2022 InitiativeTM in which they invite organisations to participate in a planned 2022 manifestation of the 50-year anniversary of the first UN conference for sustainability, held in Stockholm in 1972. The 2022 Initiative aims to promote further matchmaking between users and problem-solving actors and networking between actors working for achieving the Agenda 2030 SDGs.

Further reading

Hållbar Utveckling

Nordic Bio

Nordic Bio is run by the development programme Wargön Innovation and aims to explore re-usage of textiles in healthcare to prevent waste. The textile sector produces substantial amounts of waste every year in Sweden, but only a minor percentage is recycled or re-used.

Applying research results from VTT in Finland and material production expertise from Cellcomb, Nordic Bio aims to experiment in using new materials and processes for reducing waste while contributing to the healthcare sector becoming more sustainable. Having Region Stockholm as a partner is crucial in realising this objective.

Related SDGs
  • 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  • 9.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities
  • 12.5 By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse
Further reading

Bio Innovation 

Local 2030 Hub Partner WWF in Pakistan

In Karachi, the largest cosmopolitan city in Pakistan, communities in the peri-urban areas rely on mangroves and other forest trees for fuel to use at home. Burning wood for fuel, however, is unsustainable and negatively affects human and environmental health. Furthermore, mangrove forests are an important contributor to climate resilience. 

For three years, communities in Gadap Town, Maripur and Rehri, worked together with Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, WWF, and the electricity supply company, K-Electric, to provide clean and renewable energy solutions. The transition to clean and renewable energy involved in-depth community engagement to install solar energy systems, fuel efficient stoves and gasifiers in 2,561 households.

A total of 89 residents, including 43 women, have started new livelihood activities associated with the maintenance of biogas, solar gas and fuel-efficient stoves in their communities. Women have reported having more time to spend on income generating activities because renewable energy is more efficient than traditional firewood fuel.

The transition has brought positive benefits for the environment. In Rehri, manure was previously disposed of in the Arabian Sea but is now processed for use in biogas plants, thereby reducing organic waste in the sea. 

In addition, local communities have planted 90,000 mangroves and 63,555 saplings of other native tree species to restore local landscapes. This will help strengthen climate resilience and improve local biodiversity


For more information about our Local2030 Hub partner WWF, click here.

For more information about WWFs report on SDG synergies , click here.

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

Verklighetslabbet Stureby

Stureby Nursing Home is a platform for innovation through Reality Lab, which currently includes 120 students from different professions, but a majority not from the area of medicine and care. This supports collaboration with the residents, their relatives, municipal employees, and researchers.

With the hybrid organisation Openlab providing Design Thinking methodology and student teams for innovation, the elderly residents are given a key role in shaping their environment. Other forums for co-creation are workshops planned with different themes and challenges. This opens up for stakeholder groups normally not involved in elderly care, which in turn puts particular demands on coordination, trust- building, and understanding.

Related SDGs
  • 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  • 8. 3 Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services
  • 8.6 By 2020, substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training
  • 9.2 Promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and, by 2030, significantly raise industry’s share of employment and gross domestic product, in line with national circumstances, and double its share in least developed countries
  • 10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
Further reading

Verklighetslabbet

Hagastaden

Challenges

With Stockholm growing rapidly and new housing demanded, largely overlooked and underused areas still exist close to the urban centre. One such area is Haga, in part consisting of a large green area (Hagaparken) and in part the vast Karolinska University Hospital complex including the adjacent health science university of the Karolinska Institute. It is also the border zone between the municipalities of Solna and Stockholm, hitherto mainly used as a highway cluster.

Because the healthcare system and life science fields will face tremendous challenges in future decades due to a rapidly ageing population, with increasing amounts of multiple diagnoses requiring decades of treatment, the needs for further research and innovation on this matter are dire. Stockholm already has a vast cluster of health science research, innovation, and education in this area, pointing to the potentials of further expanding this cluster.

Good Practices & Solutions

The huge Hagastaden development project is guided by “Vision 2025”, seeking to create the largest centre for life science in the world. Most of the 100+ life science enterprises operating in Stockholm would now be located close to, or choose to relocate to, the area of Hagastaden. The project assembles three of the largest universities in Stockholm into a life science cluster with 50 000 workplaces while building mixed forms of housing for 6000 people and developing adjacent parks and green areas. The two main highways running through the area will be built into tunnels to minimise sound pollution. The innovative waste management system is inherited from Hammarby sjöstad.

Several parks and recreation areas already exist nearby, such as the widespread Hagaparken, Bellevueparken, and Karlbergsparken. These will now be connected through Hagastaden and made considerably more accessible. One of the buildings is the first to ever achieve the highest rate of the green building certificate BREEAM, “Outstanding”.The new park of Norra stationsparken will be a slim, long park with considerable proximity to cafés, shops, and restaurants.

Outcome & Opportunities

A new underground station will be built in the centre of Hagastaden, as Stockholm County Council is constructing a new subway line going from Odenplan in west central Stockholm to Arenastaden in Solna, approximately 5 km, planned for 2019–2025. This will promote public transport in favour of less sustainable transport and will further connect diverse city districts and municipalities.

Art, intertwined with architecture and landscape, plays a significant role in the shaping of the new living area. Emanating from the concept of life science and “the cornerstones of life”, the objects and milieus created are meant to reflect Hagastaden’s scientific image. This was made through the 2014–2015 project ArtResLab Hagastaden, in which researchers and artists co-created outlines for Hagastaden by exchanging knowledge about each other’s fields.

Hagastaden has had limited involvement of residents and civil actors in the planning process, the exceptions being certain dialogue meetings and a hackathon with students coordinated by Sweco. Instead, it has focussed on a cross-sectorial collaborative process

Related SDGs
  • 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  • 4.7 By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development
  • 5 . Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  • 9.1 Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all
  • 9.5 Enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, in particular developing countries, including, by 2030, encouraging innovation and substantially increasing the number of research and development workers per 1 million people and public and private research and development spending
  • 11.2 By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons
  • 11. 4 Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage
  • 11.7 By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities
  • 11.A Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning
Further reading

Hagastaden

Stockholm Science City 

Stockholm Läns Landsting “Gul linje till Arenastaden”

Stockholm Konst 

#UrbanGirlsMovement

Because urban development has to become more equal, inclusive, and participatory, the think tank Global Utmaning and UN-Habitat, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, developed the innovation project #UrbanGirlsMovement (UGM). The project aim was to improve living conditions for girls and young women in rapidly growing, socio-economically vulnerable urban areas through feminist urban planning. The methods developed in #UrbanGirlsMovement were found to especially support implementation of SDG 3, 5, 10, 11 and 17 of the 2030 Agenda.

#UrbanGirlsMovement charts good examples and supplies new methods and suggestions for feminist urban development. The thesis ”build the city for girls, and it will work for everyone” was tested in Fittja, Botkyrka municipality and involved young girls who produced concrete proposals on how Fittja could become more inclusive for everyone. The girls used, among others, the Block by Block method developed by UN-Habitat. Further, the computer game Minecraft was used as a tool for citizen dialogue and co-creation. The methods and computer game proved to be good tools for making urban planning more inclusive.

Challenges

Planning a city by considering the needs of its young female inhabitants is acknowledged as a way of creating a more just and socio-economically equal society that works for everybody. Creating prerequisites for inclusive public spaces, where people of all genders, ages, and socio-economic groups are comfortable in spending much of their time, is crucial for creating an including city without segregation. However, Sweden, much like other countries, is still mainly planning its cities based on the needs of the current middle-aged generation and largely without taking particular needs of women into account, while the importance of gender equality and digitalisation for urban planning are being increasingly highlighted. Even though this insight is shared by authorities in Stockholm, few actors seemed to have the experience or insight to apply it in urban planning processes.

Elin Andersdotter Fabre, responsible for the Sustainable Cities Program of the think tank Global Utmaning, was contacted by some of these actors for advice on the concept of feminist urban planning. This concept has recently made its way into Swedish political discourse, especially with the 2014 election of the centre-left government branding itself as being outspokenly feminist. Realising that knowledge about gender-equal urban planning was yet very much an unexplored area, Elin decided to map good international examples of this phenomenon in order to bring the best practices to Stockholm.

After gaining a sufficient amount of knowledge on the subject, Global Utmaning chose the municipality of Botkyrka south-west of Stockholm as an innovation space for the project since it had an image of being socio-economically underdeveloped and segregated. Global Utmaning and Botkyrka Municipality successfully applied for funding for a public space development project with the objectives of including young girls of Botkyrka as co-creators of innovative solutions to enable an active and secure life within these spaces.

Good practices and solutions

A well-established urban development actor, Global Utmaning had a significant network of experienced organisations and individuals from the start. The expert and reference groups include over 20 actors from all societal sectors and with different expert knowledge. Merging these established actors with insights from the participating and very young users created a unique potential for producing new knowledge on urban planning. One notable synergy effect was the experts’ input about ecological consequences on the suggestions from the users, enabling a more just and green urban development. “It is easier finding experts within all sectors with knowledge about ecological matters than about social matters, so that part is not a concern.”

Rather than hastening to action, the process permitted a long period for investigating and clarifying the needs that actually required urgent addressing. Going through all the relevant SDGs and their challenges and their consequences required considerable time but meant that the remaining work was much more facilitated than it would have been otherwise.

An expert group representing all sectors was involved before the funding had been granted in order to co-create as solid a project as possible: “Co-creation does not start in the planning phase, but rather already during the application for funding.” Co-creation and collaboration across disciplines and sectors is considered essential for creating policy and strategy recommendations with long-term systemic effects.

Outcome and opportunities

The objectives were reached in the form of 3D models of public spaces, used as starting points for architectural layouts. An ”Urban Girls cube” was built during the summer of 2019, where some of the proposals were tested with promising results. The implementation has not been secured yet because the municipality is responsible for initiating construction. This, in turn, is dependent on the success of the planned policy dialogue, which is aimed at both national and local governance as well as other relevant actors. The policy dialogue will significantly inform institutions previously ignorant of the concept of feminist urban planning.

Lessons learned and recommendations

Co-creation does not always guarantee commitment, and asking the right questions to the various engaged partners is also important for securing their continued participation. Such questions include “Which method should we use in order to have a good support of the process?”; “How many hours are we supposed to spend on this?”, etc. Asking these questions makes people feel more participating and committed and less like part of a senior advisory group. In co-creating problem definitions as well as solutions, it is important to let go of prestige while remaining empathetic. Enhancing the voice of those with the least resources, i.e. the participating girls, must also be made a priority in order to make sure that the municipality meets its responsibility in implementing their solutions.

The holistic perspective, in which #UrbanGirlsMovement could be considered a key example, is heavily dependent on the constellation of the particular group working with the project. This is also a regard in which co-creation processes fail unless they manage this challenge. Moreover, having the right people is often more valuable than having the right expertise because commitment is essential to the whole process. This is, as mentioned above, mainly a question of having composed a solid network before co-creation begins.

An extensive inventory of basic needs within urban development projects is of great importance if we are going to reach the 2030 Agenda. #UrbanGirlsMovement has taken a great deal of inspiration from participatory design and planning processes in cities like Nairobi and participatory projects in Kibera, in which the most basic needs such as livelihood or sanitation are emphasised.

Related SGD targets:
  • 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  • 5.5 Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life
  • 5.B Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women
  • 10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
  • 11.2 By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons
  • 11.3 By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
  • 11.6 By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management
  • 11.7 By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities
  • 11.A Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning
  • 11.B By 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, holistic disaster risk management at all levels
  • 17.6 Enhance North-South, South-South and triangular regional and international cooperation on and access to science, technology and innovation and enhance knowledge sharing on mutually agreed terms, including through improved coordination among existing mechanisms, in particular at the United Nations level, and through a global technology facilitation mechanism
  • 17.16 Enhance the global partnership for sustainable development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, to support the achievement of the sustainable development goals in all countries, in particular developing countries
  • 17.17 Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships
Further reading

Urban Girls Catalogue
#UrbanGirlsMovement
Global Utmaning

Digital Demo

Challenges

The public sector of Stockholm and Stockholm County needs new forms of partnership to manage some of the most urgent challenges of today and the approaching future decades. Increased pressure on health services, a diminishing supply of fresh water, and an increasing percentage of elderly are a few examples of problems that public actors can no longer handle on their own. In order to secure a socially and ecologically sustainable city, technological solutions need to be developed using a combination of academic, commercial, and practical knowledge. Digital Demo Stockholm (DDS) was initiated by KTH and the two major public actors in the region, the City of Stockholm and the Stockholm County Council. The purpose was to generate innovative solutions to societal problems using digital techniques and to establish lasting structures for trans-sector partnerships in the region.

The companies involve, of which many were already established partners of KTH and its education programmes, had a particular interest in accelerating digital innovations in order to demonstrate these to their many visitors from all over the world. Stockholm, with its relatively small population, is not an important market for any of the companies itself, but rather is an exhibition arena for global investors.

Good practices & Solutions

Forming a think tank consisting of partner representatives, DDS decided to match its demos against an already existing challenge-driven inventory of societal challenges in the City of Stockholm. These challenges were broken down into workshops during which a number of possible demo projects were picked out. The industrial partners assumed a project managing role for each demo and then applied for funding from Vinnova’s R&D programs. Openlab supported DDS with a process manager, using Design Thinking as a chosen methodology for creating innovative solutions. Testing, evaluating, refining, and re-testing is thus a regular process throughout the DDS operations and its demo projects.

“DDS … is more like a big learning process than it is a project”

DDS is heavily dependent on commitment from the leadership. Being a cross-sectorial collaboration, it demands more of its participating individuals than it would if run by only one actor. The steering group has to be ready to intervene in case there is no progress.

The procurement of innovative products and services faces obstacles from Swedish legislation. To tackle these obstacles, DDS appointed a policy council with the specific task of clarifying the necessary legal, operational, and commercial frames in which the partners need to operate.

Outcome & Opportunities

In 2018, DDS had six on-going independent demo projects: iWater, Tech Tensta, Smarta lås (Smart Locks), Smarta trafikljus (Smart Traffic Lights), Safe user-centred healthcare and social care in home environments, and Energy Efficient Healthcare. The results have been tested and presented, for example, in May 2018 at Openlab.

Lessons learned & Recommendations

Each participating actor needs to acknowledge the benefit they gain from the partnership. Municipal politicians need to understand the value of them achieving political leverage from innovation within DDS; business leaders need to see that they attract investors even though not achieving direct gains from the process; and researchers need to appreciate the relationships and networks that they build during the process.

Related SDGs
  • 4.7 By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development
  • 6.4 By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity
  • 7.A By 2030, enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology
  • 8.2 Achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation, including through a focus on high-value added and labour-intensive sectors
  • 9.1 Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all
  • 9.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities
  • 10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
  • 11.6 By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management
  • 11.B By 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, holistic disaster risk management at all levels
  • 12.2 By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources
  • 12.6 Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle
  • 13.2 Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning
  • 13.3 Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning
  • 17.17 Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships
Further reading

Rosendals Trädgård

The project has transformed and cultivated 2000kvm of land, at the organic café Rosendals Trädgård. This is an attempt to change the narrative of sustainable food production and to develop a sustainable food box out of the cultivation testbed.

 

Challenges

A just, global food production regime allows for each human being to cultivate 2,000 square metres of land. Currently, however, the distribution of land is asymmetrical and is focussed on maximising output while minimising cultivation spaces, contributing to nutrition shortage and “welfare diseases” as well as to eutrophication in the Baltic Sea, for example. Moreover, the debate around farming in Sweden is polarised between conventional versus ecological farming. There is a need to change the narrative from one positioning humans as victims and/or perpetrators to having a transformative role. 2000 kvm (English: “2000 sq. m.”) explores the overlooked concept and narrative of regenerative farming within the just space of 2000 sq. m. in an open environment located at the organic café Rosendals Trädgård. Thus, Rosendals Trädgård attempts to create means for developing both innovative business models and healthy sustainable meals for tomorrow’s cities, while re- writing the narrative of sustainable food production and visualising transformative scenarios. The concrete purpose of the project is to develop a sustainable food box out of the cultivation testbed.

Good Practices & Solutions

The team of 2000 kvm are conscious of the challenges emanating from initiating such a project. The design process in itself is rigidly structured. The project does not employ pre- designed methodologies but instead utilises three overarching structures to design and facilitate the co-creative process. First, the project’s theoretical starting point is to work with Systems Change in Open Networks, taught within GAIT (Guild of Agents for International Transformation). Many of the involved individuals share experience from GAIT, thus facilitating a common understanding.

Second, achieving a common basic view is prioritised. In order to have a functioning team, utilising official team contracts based on established joint principles is key to achieve an inclusive culture for diverse experiences and epistemologies, as one generally tends to work with like-minded individuals if principles are not outspoken.

Third, a non-coercive principle is emphasised because it is considered necessary for change processes to be voluntary and interactive. People need to be integrated and involved into the change process.

Starting from these overarching structures, methods are designed according to each structure and operation in a flexible way. The same goes for the people involved; depending on which actors are required in a certain phase, the translation of knowledge – and, consequently, the level of ambition – needs to be continuously adjusted.

The concept “Take care of your square” – with regards to global justice and planetary limits – was coined as guidance for everyone involved in testing the 2000 square metre testbed.

Outcome & Opportunities

As the 2000 sq. m. food box is realised, the expectation is that it will eventually expand into a commonly embraced concept, complementary to currently acknowledged sustainable diet options. Another expectation is that this will contribute to regenerative farming becoming an alternative to the aforementioned dichotomisation in the current discourse around sustainable farming.

Lessons learned & Recommendations

Goals of co-creation processes are not likely to be met if calculations do not include time and resources being set aside for developing the co-creative process as an acknowledged practice. Co-creation is dependent on stakeholders “owning the change process not being required to translate their thinking to the concepts of researchers”, while the researcher needs to respect the narrative of these stakeholders to be met in the co-creation process. Thus, funders need to put higher demands on these aspects; otherwise, researchers or other project coordinators might end up ruining the transformative process.

Other more general challenges for co-creation for sustainable development are the lack of concepts and vocabulary, but equally so the lack of co-creation as a practical craft. Knowledge of these aspects is usually non-existent, even though many prefer and encourage working across sectors and diverse stakeholder groups. The reason for this is that there are no professional requirements for initiating co-creation; it is open for everyone.

The creative sector – art, design, and other cultural crafts – is a valuable asset to foster co-creation. However, using artists and scientists together might be deemed unprofessional and even “fudged”, and this is a risk that might prevent some actors from enabling full co- creation.

Nature must be present in co-creation processes such as 2000 kvm, either through research, a certain space, or a craft because the work being done refers to a constellation involving both humans and nature.

Using and targeting public procurement as a means of enhancing and scaling results is a proven asset, at least within sustainable food innovation.

Related SDG targets
  • 2.4 By 2030, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality
  • 2.4.1 Proportion of agricultural area under productive and sustainable agriculture
  • 3.9 By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination
  • 11.A Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning
  • 11.B By 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, holistic disaster risk management at all levels
  • 12.2 By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resource
  • 12.7 Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities
  • 12.8 By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature
  • 15.9 By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts
Further reading

Experiment 2000 kvm

eRoad Arlanda

eRoad Arlanda tests an electrified road in order to create knowledge needed for a national implementation, the test road connects Arlanda Airport with Rosersberg logistic area, a distance of 10 km of which 2 km are being electrified.
Challenges

Roughly 10% of Swedish annual CO2 emissions emanate from the transport of goods. The Swedish government has set a goal of fossil fuel-independent transport by 2030. However, road-bound transport is expected to increase with 59% by then. The challenge rests on providing new sustainable means of supporting the growing number of transport vehicles. One innovative technique enabling this ambitious prospect is the construction of electrified roads. Today, electrified vehicles are dependent on large batteries due to the small number of charging stations. If the vision of an electrified Swedish main road network is realised, batteries can be made much smaller and thus more sustainable, because charging batteries at stations will become largely obsolete for vehicles using the main national and regional highways.

eRoad Arlanda tests an electrified road in order to create knowledge needed for a national implementation of this solution. The test road connects Arlanda Airport with Rosersberg logistic area, a distance of 10 km of which 2 km are being electrified. The main vehicles using the road are larger trucks transporting goods, mainly from the state-owned main Swedish postal service PostNord. A large number of participating organisations contribute in various forms to the outcome of the testing area.

With so many actors involved, the consortium is dependent on structured co-operation and joint vision. This is in turn to some extent dependent on personal chemistry and individual engagement. Also, functioning regulations and standards for partnerships such as e-Road Arlanda are not yet sufficiently explored, leaving many questions unanswered.

Another challenge is the fact that potential customers are not demanding electrified roads, partly since it is an innovation and therefore unexpected, and partly for reasons unknown. This has proved a challenge for the mind-set of many of the actors involved because they need to firmly believe in the potential of the solution even without customers considering it.

The concept of innovation procurement poses a challenge due to its complexity, and for example lawyers of NCC are still having difficulties fully understanding what it means. Moreover, future financing is not completely secured because high speed trains are currently receiving more attention regarding funding on a national political level.

Good Practices & Solutions

The Swedish spearheading actors of e-Road Arlanda were Gunnar Asplund of Elways and the large construction company NCC. While Elways was the main innovator and developer of the electrified road technology itself, they lacked resources needed to test the roadway, which was supported by NCC.

After the Swedish Transport Administration procured the innovation of electrified roads from Elways, the prospect took on more large-scale proportions and a consortium was established for developing a test project of electrifying a longer portion of a road. The Dutch company E-Traction was an important actor in this regard because they provided the truck that was first used, whereas the company ABT was given the main responsibility for the group of vehicles. Together they used their expertise to prepare the tests. Sigtuna Municipality leased the road used for testing, previously mainly used by the police.

With many of the main actors being heavily business oriented, the idea of integrating the customer’s perspective into the collaboration project is ever-present. Equally important and common knowledge to most of the actors are the aspects of risk-taking, uncertainties, multi-organisational partnership constellations, and complex problem-solving. These prerequisites significantly aid the progress of e-Road Arlanda. With NCC being the main organising part, their experience and stability in leading projects and multi-organisational partnerships is well needed, apart from their more obvious knowledge on related material aspects such as asphalt and roads: “The facility itself is not rocket science”. The Swedish Transport Administration serves as the main steering and guiding part, but the operations themselves are managed by the various actors according to their specific expertise.

Outcome & Opportunities

Regardless of the final assessment of the test road, the opportunities for scaling up are already relatively clarified. If 5000 km of the most trafficked roads and highways – out of a total of roughly 20 000 km of roads in Sweden – were to be electrified, CO2 emissions from heavy transport is estimated to be reduced by 50%. Furthermore, the new technology would be integrated into existing infrastructure, a welcomed cost-saving procedure. Safety for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians alike is believed to be further enhanced by e-roads, particularly when combined with autonomous vehicles.

Lessons learned & Recommendations

In a consortium of such a variety of actors and routines, it is especially necessary to be precise and clear when formulating ideas and statements. When dealing with a large spectrum of competences, it is essential to try and remain a specialist and not act as a general expert. Keeping the consortium well functioning is key because innovation projects tend to attract the attention of naysayers and sceptics, and allowing the partnership to suffer or funding money to run out could mean a backlash from outside disrupting the progress and perhaps even halting the very implementation of the innovation itself. For similar reasons, keeping good relations and dialogue with key public authorities is essential because the success of the project is dependent on their approval.

Patience is considered another virtue to technology innovation because testing processes require unusual amounts of time before generating productive outcomes, and every step taken needs to be verified: “Expect the unexpected”.

An important lesson learned is that Sweden traditionally puts much faith in the vehicle industry, with large companies like Scania and Volvo. However, due to their primary interest in selling as many of their old models as possible before they become out-dated, they were not considered as partners in e-Road Arlanda. Instead, infrastructure and transportation actors were the ones mainly approached.

Related SDGs
  • 3.6 By 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents
  • 10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
  • 11.2 By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons
  • 14.1 By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
  • 15.9 By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts
Further reading

eRoad Arlanda

Enable Stockholm: Flaten Lake

Flaten area has been in a transition phase for the past few years and it has been the largest nature reserve in Stockholm since its founding in 2005. The focus of the project is on gathering data and knowledge about the specific conditions in Flaten and subsequently sharing these results within the larger Enable project (in which Stockholm’s Flaten is one of six cases in different cities).

 

Challenges

Urban areas undergoing substantial changes and restructuring pose challenges regarding how to navigate natural resources in relation to local residents. The Stockholm case of the EU-funded research project Enable investigates the prerequisites for optimising the value of green and blue infrastructure in the rapidly changing area of Lake Flaten. The largest nature reserve in Stockholm since its founding in 2005, the Flaten area has been in a transition phase for the past few years. This has called for an investigation into how nature is being (and could be) used for recreation as the surrounding society gradually changes, while still maintaining its rich ecological qualities. In order to produce this knowledge, local stakeholders are approached on a broad level, although each actor participates on its own terms.

The project is largely focused on gathering data and knowledge about the specific conditions in Flaten and subsequently sharing these results within the larger Enable project (in which Stockholm’s Flaten is one of six cases in different cities). Thus, the results are mainly meant to provide value for the future development of Flaten Lake and are not generalisable. However, the methods evaluated during the process will be potentially applicable in a larger context, as well as certain aspects of the research results.

Good Practices & Solutions

The research process is designed to entail testing of a participatory resilience assessment adapted to an urban context. Thus, the project is both a learning process regarding the issues stated above as well as a meta-learning process, i.e. an exploration of participatory research methods. Knowledge is co-produced with researchers, public servants, individuals, associations, communities, and other stakeholders around Flaten Lake through a work package of citizen research, workshops, enquiries, and follow-ups and regularly updating participants while preserving results along the way. Each phase is designed so that all participants are able to give feedback on a personal level, largely avoiding group-based evaluation (and thereby risking consensus).

Obstacles for co-creation between actors often appear in the form of time, and voluntary organisations and individuals cannot always show up during the same hours as public servants and researchers. There are also numerous latent and active conflicts between some of the participating stakeholders, whether related to the project or not. Some participants are public servants and architects responsible for designing new local construction projects and are likely to receive critique when encountering local residents: “When things are being built, someone will always be displeased about it.” This creates a tension that needs to be taken into account so as not to jeopardise the overall objectives.

To logistically manage a chequered group of stakeholders with diverse schedules, interests, and resources, discussions are conducted parallel to one another and never with all stakeholders present at any single time. However, the leading actors have made sure that stakeholder groups inform one another regularly so that everyone has access to the same information. Furthermore, several different processes are designed to be going on simultaneously, thus enabling diverse forms of involvement. Although the research process has been prepared in advance, some aspects of the process are being altered according to needs along the way because not all prerequisites of all stakeholders can be foreseen.

A quite different potential stepping stone for the future application of the results is the fact that no decision-makers have been part of the project, hence there is a lack of a policy- driving aspect. This has not been a definite decision, but rather a consideration due to limited resources.

Outcome & Opportunities

As mentioned, the main outcomes are aimed at an academic context – mainly producing articles presenting project results – and less towards a policy-development process. However, having managed to bring so many local residents, businesses, and activities on board throughout the research project might potentially increase locals’ interest and commitment in developing the lake and nature reserve. Moreover, the process’s learning outcomes might be acknowledged as a substantial basis for future action-oriented research processes aiming at bringing in practitioners for producing knowledge for sustainable cities.

As part of the project, a review article published in 2017 highlights the apparent knowledge gap between decision-making for enhancing urban ecosystem services through green infrastructure and biodiversity and ecosystem services relations, stating that there is still little empirical evidence to suggest that biodiversity is substantially strengthened by urban ecosystems services.

Lessons learned & Recommendations

Far from surprising, dialogue takes its toll on the schedule. Having diverse groups working with a common vision is a “continuous headache”, requiring continuous discussions and re- formulating of objectives and boundaries and coordinating different points of view into a coherent process. One notable example is the systemic perspective not being embraced or even fully comprehended by all actors because many instead choose to apply an issue- specific perspective. On a higher level, coordinating an international co-creative project requires proactive communication structures. Co-creation is considered not to work well in large group meetings; instead, bilateral dialogues are held between managers of the six different projects.

There is a danger in trying to generalise one’s results. In a case study like this, it is more reasonable to assume that the outcome will be a rather particular one and, in this case, efforts should be focused on developing the Flaten area: “We are trying to work against the scientific illusion of things being generalisable.” Thus, each of the six case studies has relative autonomy regarding problem definition and methodology. This is also a reason why Agenda 2030 has not been explicitly part of the problem definition even though the SDGs cover the issues being investigated in Enable.

Related SDGs
  • 11.4 Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage
  • 11.7 By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities
  • 14.1 By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
  • 14.2 By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
  • 15.1 By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements
Further reading

 

The Oukasi Saving Scheme

In 1992, Mrs Rose Molokoane founded the Oukasi Saving Scheme in South Africa. It later became the Federation of Urban and Rural Poor (FEDUP), one of the federations under Slum Dwellers International (SDI).
Challenge

Oukasi is a very small township of informal character, 35 km out of Pretoria in South Africa. With support from the government, the settlement could install water and sanitation facilities, as well as electricity. However, this infrastructural support did not match the number of people living in the community and the infrastructural systems in the town were constantly overloaded. Electricity shedding, toilets breaking, sewage leaking on the streets and water shortage were part of the everyday life.

Good practices & solutions

In search for alternative ways of addressing Oukasis challenges, a team of delegates travelled to India to meet with a group of women in India that had organised a local collector/treasurer collective in their informal settlement. Inspired by these women the Oukasi saving scheme came to be. It sought to address four main challenges within the community: Stay-at-home women burdened with caring duties and without income or resources; General unemployment; A misconception of landownership and; Attention from the government.

Outcome & opportunities

One outcome of the saving scheme has been a new found confidence in the women involved. It educated most of them in how to the small amount of money they had and gave them the knowledge of managing bigger sums of money. The main reason for this newfound empowerment cannot be found in the money itself but the sense of community that occurred when the women got together to help each other out of poverty. After being successfully implemented in Oukasi, the saving scheme expanded to the whole of South Africa and lay ground for the Federation of Urban and Rural Poor (FEDUP), an organisation now established in 9 provinces and a federation under Slum Dwellers International (SDI).

Lessons learned & recommendations

In order to succeed with development, it is important for the people and the government to cooperate and create sustainable change. SDI is encouraging people to empower themselves and come together to talk with one voice. It is important, especially for the poor people, to organize themselves and show the government the change they want to create. That way it is possible to shape the policies that later defines the urban landscape.

Related SDG targets
  • 1.1 By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day
  • 1.b Create sound policy frameworks at the national, regional and international levels, based on pro-poor and gender-sensitive development strategies, to support accelerated investment in poverty eradication actions
  • 2.1 By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular
    the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round
  • 3.3 By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases
  • 5.a Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws
  • 6.2 By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations
  • 7.b By 2030, expand infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services for all in developing countries,
    in particular least developed countries, small island developing States
    and landlocked developing countries, in accordance with their respective programmes of support
  • 8.5 By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value
  • 10.3 Ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, including by eliminating discriminatory laws, policies and practices and promoting appropriate legislation, policies and action in this regard
  • 11.3 By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
Further reading

#Women4Cities interview – Rose Molokoane

#Women4Cities

FEDUP

Rural Women’s Assembly

Afrikagrupperna is a non-profit, non-party-political and non- religiously-based solidarity organization with a vision of a just world. The organization originated in the solidarity movement in Sweden in the late 1960s. Afrikagrupperna works to strengthen the civil society that is already in place in a south African context. Together with partner organizations in southern Africa, the Afrikagrupperna has worked for over 40 years to ensure that people have access to their rights.
Challenge

The UN has predicted that the world population will increase to around 9.6 billion in 2050, and to a large extent, this will be on the African continent. In Africa, the population will double or more, and according to the prognosis the African population will increase to about 2.4 billion by 2050. When the population increases, the movement and settlement patterns change from rural to increasingly urban. In order to secure an inclusive and equal development, as well as sustainable and long term based, Afrikagrupperna focus on securing the rights of rural women through a feminist point of view.

Good practices & solutions

Since the organization has been established for so long it has gathered a great experience of development cooperation and use well tested methods based in a deeply rooted ideology. However, only recently has the organization adopted a strong feminist strategy. This
in order to secure that the most vulnerable groups, women and children, are prioritized within their development work. Some projects specifically target women and children, but all development cooperation have a feminist perspective throughout. One example is the Rural Women’s Assembly, an initiative that organize rural women within the whole southern African region. The Rural Women’s Assembly is one of the most important ways to reach the groups that will be the future urban citizens.

Outcome & opportunities

If rural women get the possibility to mobilize and work together, they increase their possibilities to secure other many human rights, such as sexual and reproductive health rights. The sexual
and reproductive health rights are threatened globally, that is a setback for all human rights, and it is the first sign of a threat. For women to have the possibility to have larger meetings, to mobilize, to feel secure enough to meet without a threat is a crucial building block for a sustainable society where women are an active part of the community both locally and globally. Involving women is key to reach a sustainable development all over the globe, especially in the fight against climate change, democratic setbacks, human rights and our possibility to decrease poverty and reach food sovereignty within the global south. Mobilizing, offering safe spaces and being able to support grassroot movements are important methods to reach a sustainable development and integrate a feminist perspective within all development cooperation work.

Lessons learned & recommendations

Over the decades, Afrikagrupperna have found the only way to create sustainable development is to listen to those who’s rights are threatened. It should not be top down when it comes to development. The model of core support is one way the organisation work to realise this vision. By supporting local organisations with core funding it becomes possible to actively listen and navigate the landscape of civil society on a local level. In regard to this, Afrikagrupperna has also found that a feminist approach is a valuable tool in strengthening civil society and creating resilience.

Related SDG targets
  • 3.7 By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes
  • 5.5 Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life
  • 5.6 Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights
  • 5.a Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws
  • 10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
  • 10.3 Ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, including by eliminating discriminatory laws, policies and practices and promoting appropriate legislation, policies and action in this regard
  • 11.3 By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
  • 15.6 Promote fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and promote appropriate access to such resources, as internationally agreed
  • 17.17 Encourage and promote effective public, public- private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnership
Further reading

#Women4Cities interview – Louise Lindfors

#Women4Cities

Afrikagrupperna

HÅLLBARA LEKMILJÖER (SUSTAINABLE PLAYING ENVIRONMENTS)

Hållbara Lekmiljöer is a testbed project for transforming urban playgrounds into digitalised, sustainable, user-friendly green play environments.

Challenges

Planning a city with its children in focus is becoming an increasingly compelling incentive in sustainable development. This has resulted in the predominating design of playgrounds for children receiving critique. The archetypal playground consists of one or a few swings, rubber asphalt, and tools and structures for play. Research on out-door play however, show that such playgrounds have a low play value compared to environments that are more nature-like with more abundant resources for play. The trend today is to down-prioritize play environments close to homes and schools in favour of play parks located further away. This makes everyday play hard to access for children, being especially problematic for children with special needs. Moreover, it produces unnecessary strain on environmental functions in an urban environment in need of more efficiently used green spaces, as well as paying little or no mind to the proximity of dangerous traffic. In fact, detailed interferences in playgrounds do not create lasting qualitative play value for children. Thus, the concept of ‘playground’ (Swedish: lekplats) is gradually being replaced by ‘play
environment’ (Swedish: lekmiljö). The project Digitala och fysiska lekmiljöer/Hållbara lekmiljöer i staden has, in various steps since 2013, elaborated on how to innovate these environments by bringing together relevant housing and construction companies, municipalities, landscape architects, playground designers, researchers and local children in testbeds in which the natural environment is utilized in combination with digital components for better outdoor play value.

Good practices & solutions

Digitalisation and utilisation of existing natural conditions are guiding factors in the process, thus allowing for more green spaces and ecosystem services. The constellation of partners has been involved in a hands-on manner, often engaging physically with the environment themselves by working collaboratively on-site. Thus, all stakeholders have viewed the consequences of their ideas in real environments, helping them to screen some of the less constructive prototypes. Children, naturally, have been involved as the chief evaluating actors regarding play value together with
the partners. Digital tools have been integrated into the natural environment, using sound and light effects to inspire play with natural materials.

Local actors have had a substantial role in shaping the outcome; in Vårby gård, a stigmatised low-income suburb of Stockholm, the local housing company Balder helped create commitment among local children in formulating their challenges and possibilities. Children were temporarily given cameras for documenting their everyday life and expressing their needs and wishes regarding playing opportunities. The project has experienced several phases, during which some actors have been brought in and others have stepped out. Prisma Tibro was brought in by the project manager Eva-Lotta Sallnäs Pysander at KTH who realised that the company produces exactly the kind of robust materials for outdoor equipment that the project needed, but for a totally different kind of product.

Outcome & opportunities

Apart from producing a buyer’s competence guidebook (Swedish: beställarkompetensguide), the project has established a new area of competence within KTH as a coordinating actor but equally so a new business model among playground designers, architects and housing companies emerges. The concept of play environment is gradually becoming more accepted among the partner
organisations and potentially on a broader national level.

Lessons learned & recommendations

Designing the dialogue process has been a key concern; traditional dialogue meetings with target groups and stakeholders do not work well enough in this type of project. Asking people, including children, what they wish for in their playgrounds is not an efficient way of creating the optimal playing environment, as these questions produce archetypal answers. Instead, you need to ask different questions focussing on children’s concrete experiences and habits of play in a specific setting, observing children’s behavior and response to play environments, and experimenting
iteratively in order to evaluate what creates positive prerequisites for play as an activity. Research shows that play is intense and that children exhibit a browsing behavior in archetypal playgrounds, and that play is more long-lasting and engaging in natural environments. Combining the engaging mechanisms in digital play with known benefits of play in an environment with vegetation, terrain and natural materials can create innovative play environments with a high play value accessible to children in their everyday contexts.

It is interesting to note the generational differences inherent in the process, as younger architects and planners are generally devoted to the idea of natural playing environments whereas older generations are more used to the notion that children only feel safe to play in traditionally designed and secluded spaces. However, enthusiasm is not sufficient if the still rather radical and disruptive principles in the project are going to become commonplace in policies and construction operations. The positive outcomes need to be effective enough but also comfortable enough to uphold in order to be lasting and sustainable.

An essential starting point has been a common goal among the project partners. With regards to the co-creative process, it has proved vital to the project that all actors need to be involved not merely as decision-makers or in discussions but in the actual operations occurring on-site. Vinnova’s Challenge Driven Innovation programme states the need for concrete product development showing alternatives to existing solutions, thus encouraging physical engagement in the creation process among all participants. This creates understanding of one’s own role in the larger creation
chain, trust in the process and confidence in the jointly created vision. Team building has been fostered through hands-on working procedures and site visits rather than just meetings. Commitment cannot be successfully created unless an actor has been present in shaping the physical result with other actors. Moreover, the steering committee has been dedicated, which is considered a main prerequisite for success. Sending a representative to convey messages is insufficient; direct contact needs to be established between coordinators, steering committee members and driving spirits within the various organisations.

All things considered, fostering a buyer’s competence among municipalities and other clients of children’s outdoor play environments is considered one of the key effects with potential of transforming outdoor play environments for a sustainable urban development.

Engaged partners & stakeholder groups

Balder housing company, Children, Hags, HIQ, Huddinge Municipality, Hälsoträdgården, KTH, NCC, Nordic Parks, Prisma Tibro, SLU, Uppsala University, Urbio AB, Örebro Municipality.

Further reading

Hållbara Lekmiljöer

CULTIVATING CITY BAZAARS

Cleantech Högdalen is a cluster of environmental technology businesses in the Stockholm industrial suburb of Högdalen and run as a project and budgetary assignment from the City of Stockholm. It was founded by Tillväxtverket (Board of Enterprises), Vinnova (Board of Innovation), Stockholm Cleantech, IVL, Svensk Solenergi, Science Partner, Högdalsgruppen and the County Administrative Board of Stockholm. Despite initial lack of interest from local actors, Cleantech Högdalen managed to establish testbeds such as organic waste management development. Throughout the project, a network of more than 100 private and public enterprises focussing on sustainable energy, systems integration and energy optimisation has been established.

Challenges

Local property owners in Högdalen prospected for new ways of improving existing buildings in innovative ways. Cleantech Högdalen decided to test indoors cultivation of food products, since this concept was largely unexplored in Stockholm. While the promotion of green technologies and local businesses was the main objective, a driving vision was also to create job opportunities for people with professional disadvantages while creating prerequisites for more sustainable food production. Thus, Odlande Stadsbasarer was initiated in 2017, cultivating greens in abandoned
facilities in central Högdalen.

Good practices & solutions

In 2016, the municipality of Botkyrka had intended, with support from Vinnova, a pilot of cultivation in garage buildings, but had soon withdrawn due to highly calculated costs. Learning by their example, Odlande Stadsbasarer made sure only to use existing and unused buildings in order to keep down expenses. From an early stage, dialogue within the consortium was centered around recognizing approaches and operations with positive results and then cautiously scaling these up. Enterprises with sufficient financial capacity would cover their own expenses and risks when overtaking property targeted for growing, since it was considered unsustainable to demand this risk to be taken by public actors.

Furthermore, moving from a general business innovation approach to a more particular focus on each involved enterprise proved more feasible. Keeping the main focus of supporting local business and commerce innovation, rather than “improving the world”, has also guided the project.

KTH researchers investigated the results with regards to sustainable cultivation. Participating actors were left free to communicate and promote their efforts, sometimes in isolation and other times in collaboration.

Outcome & opportunities

The project established a small-scale underground food cultivation in Högdalen, using and selling its products in local establishments. The entire project in Stockholm and Helsingborg has contributed to employment of 10 people, 2 have gained employment in Högdalen as a result of the project.

Region Stockholm’s Growth and Regional Planning Department has given financial support to Invest Stockholm for investigating whether 10% of Stockholm’s food production could be realised in a similar fashion.

Possible scaling up will first show pilots of the project and promote the philosophy behind urban indoors food cultivation and then evolve into testbeds. Other future plans include the establishment of a local and vibrant co-working space, combining Food Tech and Clean Tech.

Lessons learned & recommendations

Co-creating innovation driven collaboration in itself was deemed a considerable challenge by the organising partners, above all the prospect of creating something previously unexplored. Coordinating the consortium demanded high levels of openness and letting go of prestige. The other main challenges concerned knowledge and acceptance. KTH, SLU (and Swedish research in general) had scarce experience of investigating the concept of urban gardening, although it is a vital part of many international urban regions such as Singapore. Few actors, public or private, allow for or support progressive development of property or estate. The public sector is also not considered a frontrunner for innovation in general, which creates a stepping stone for scaling up the project.

Funding agencies such as Vinnova could support projects further, i.e. by using recommendations from previous technological insights. Public social authorities or researchers are the actors best suited for calculating the socio-economical pros and cons of a project such as Odlande stadsbasarer. It is also highly advised to map international urban systems and urban policies in general to see what is going on in with regards to sustainable innovation without assuming that Stockholm is at the forefront – which is far from always the case.

Engaged partners & stakeholder groups

Invest Stockholm, KTH, Rågsveds folkets hus, Citycon, City of Stockholm, SLU, local residents, local
start-ups, CleanTech Högdalen.

Further reading

Odlande stadsbasarer

MO-BO: architecture for sustainable mobility

Challenges

Mo-Bo is a project attempting to solve the challenges of juxtaposing sustainably built housing stands with a sustainable transport system, in which fewer vehicles carry more residents and resources are used in a more efficient way. Contemporary architecture – the “Normal” – is considered insufficient to meet the challenges of sustainable mobility and housing as it still puts private car driving at the centre. Thus, for example, parking lots are still highly prioritised in construction and design processes, obstructing ambitions of transitioning to sustainable housing policy and practice. With Mo-Bo, coordinating actor Theory Into Practice wishes to explore and develop a “New Normal” housing concept, expanding resource efficient transport capacity while tending to the needs of residents.

Good practices & solutions

With KTH/SLU and Trivector providing qualitative and quantitative evaluation respectively, the living lab and testbeds will be spaces of experimentation during one year. Among other procedures, travelling habits of residents are measured in intervals, steering documents such as development contracts are developed and tested, and different practical solutions are tested in the housing testbeds, including shared economy models and digital innovations. Spaces and functions are designed according to mobility needs, green value and desired behavioral change among residents. The developed architectural models are then to be spread and scaled up to substantially influence and alter the current housing policy, thus changing “Normal” into “New Normal”. The theoretical framework for this is Transition Management (TM), a structured process of change in which three levels are considered: niche (innovative environment), regime (the status quo of social and technological practice) and landscape (societal values). In order to influence the regime level, TM strengthens the niche through active reflection and joint activity within the project partner constellation. For example, Learning History is used as a reflecting tool. Thus, the operational process is pre-designed on a detailed level, attempting to address the issue from a holistic perspective.

For the KTH researchers, Mo-Bo is less of a challenge compared to previous experiences, in which KTH participants have risked becoming too dominant. In this case, with Theory Into Practice leading the process, researchers have a much more designated and limited role; this means that researchers do not need to focus on enabling co-creation. As designers and architects, Theory Into Practice are considered an experienced actor with regards to co-creating with different sectors and knowledge groups. However, co-creation has not been at the center of focus or a conscious part of the design.

Outcome & opportunities

As municipalities are a central part of the project, issues of policy development are a priority objective. If the tested solutions are to be scaled and normalised, co-operation of public actors are a necessity. If successfully conducted, the project will launch potential innovative business models and opportunities for mobility.

There are several gains from a social-ecological perspective; as parking lots diminish, the soil surrounding the buildings is allowed to be thicker, thus enabling further gardening and cultivation. “You cannot separate [social and ecological] aspects from one another in housing.”

Lessons learned & recommendations

Coordinating the various interests of the actors is key to knitting together the collaborative effort. Researchers have an inherent interest in publishing their work which has to be met along with the interests of Theory Into Practice, whose main objective remains creating generalisable and sustainable solutions.

Applying for research funding proves to be a complicated matter in multi-stakeholder projects such as Mo-Bo; organisations rarely receive full or equal financial coverage, with private companies easier obtaining larger funds as their interests differ. The increasing incentives for researchers to participate in co-creation with other sectors is contradicted by the fact that funding is insufficient. Moreover, working hours are nearly impossible to assess, especially when considering time for developing products or services in innovative processes.

Engaged partners and stakeholder groups

KTH, LaTERRE, local residents, SLU, Theory Into Practice, Trivector, Upplands Väsby Municipality, Uppsala Municipality, Urbio AB.

Further reading

Theory into Practice

Mo-Bo

Divercity

Process and policy development project for joint building ventures.

Challenges

Current Swedish housing construction is a complex process, usually spanning at least 3-4 years, involving municipalities and a handful of building contractors at the very least but, perhaps more delicate, requiring the participating construction companies to co-finance the process long before the first buildings have been erected. Alternatives to this system are rarely tested, which risks jeopardising the well-needed acceleration in sustainable construction over the next decades for the rapidly growing Stockholm region. Moreover, although housing may indeed be satisfyingly built, procured companies may be less keen to secure a diverse and equal community and functioning local services for the residents. When comparing Sweden with, for example, Germany, where alternatives such as joint building ventures (Swedish: byggemenskap, henceforth JBV) are well prominent, there is a perceived need of experimenting and developing policies concerning housing and construction in order to improve the prerequisites for a just and sustainable city.

JBV is a model in which users – the intended residents of a house or neighbourhood – participate in the planning process as a co-operative society and exercise influence over all or most of the decisions. They are currently rare in Sweden and are also largely unknown to the banks that can fund them. Individual co-operative societies usually lack the sufficient funds and organisational stability to be regarded as reliable project partners from the perspective of Vinnova. Instead, the Society of Joint Building Ventures (Swedish: Föreningen för byggemenskaper) is the coordinating actor of the Divercity project initiated in 2016. The goal of the project is to create leverage for more JBVs in Sweden, using their co-operative societies as testbeds while experimenting with construction process design and construction policy development.

There are several indicators as to why JBVs are worth strengthening. If end users are included from the start, their commitment to the constructed neighbourhood is stronger, promoting a socially sustainable area. Moreover, as end users share the costs of materials and processes, JBVs are more likely to contribute to a resource efficient construction, more lasting materials and thus better potential for sustainable buildings. Furthermore, JBVs potentially constitute an addition to democratic participation in urban development.

Good practices & solutions

“What we seek to achieve requires several actors”

Co-creation between architects, urban planners, joint building venture co-operatives and researchers is a fundamental feature of the process. The project has 18 organisations participating altogether and the various stakeholder groups had hitherto had limited understanding of one another, which demands a conscious process design in order to guide each actor towards a common vision. Several workshops have been conducted to foster a common view of the challenge and the funding application was written collaboratively. There is also a regularly maintained ambition to involve stakeholders – the co-operatives – on the same terms as project partners in the co-creation process, as they are formally asymmetrically involved due to Vinnova’s requirements.

There is, moreover, a generally accepted view among the participants that a process needs to be framed by a particular methodology. In order to facilitate co-creation, the Step Dialogue is used, a process design allowing several spaces for reflection individually and in groups, gradually aiding the participants in becoming more conscious about their common core values guiding the process and their main objectives.

During step 1, a process description was developed, providing an initial overview of what needs to be done in order to realise a construction project with JBVs. The description is partially used as a supporting tool for architects, often unused to working with JBVs, but primarily for the municipalities to better understand their own operational conditions. The description covers core issues for the project, such as regulations excluding JBVs and important steps included in construction processes. It is used as a basis for step 2, in which the JBVs become testbeds for trying out various solutions and evaluating the JBVs’ potential for sustainable urban development, while municipalities are experimenting with policy labs. RISE is responsible for these policy labs as well as evaluating the JBVs and their role in sustainability aspects, whereas researchers from KTH are conducting evaluation research, for example jointly with the City of Stockholm. One notable case is the city’s pilot project Fokus Skärholmen, in which one land assignment is designated for testing a JBV project.

Divercity uses a bottom-up perspective, in which different working packages deliver output to a steering group assigned with the task of developing and spreading jointly created knowledge within the project.

Outcome & opportunities

The main long-term potential for the project, if successfully conducted and scaled, is a systemic change of Swedish housing construction policies, in which end users participate and influence the process on a broader scale than previously known.

Lessons learned & recommendations

The constellation and choice of participating actors is crucial and needs to be consciously thought-through, with particular regard to achieving a satisfying breadth of expertise. Involving the National Board of Housing, Building and Planning (Boverket) gives Divercity a credibility otherwise not gained, member-governed bank Ekobanken provides the financial perspective and Coompanion contribute their expertise on and experience from all forms of co-operative organisations.

Utilising these different knowledges separately needs to work parallel to establishing a common ground between all actors, as well as each part acquiring a driving force on their own as a result of appreciating the common benefits of the project.

Engaged partners and stakeholder groups

Alsikebolaget, Nils Söderlund Architects, Boverket, Coompanion, Ekobanken, Föreningen för Byggemenskaper, City of Gothenburg, inobi, KTH, City of Malmö, omniplan, Orust kommun, Region Gotland, RISE, Röd arkitektur, City of Stockholm, Theory Into Practice, Uppsala Municipality.

Further reading

Theory into practice 

Norra Djurgårdsstaden

Challenges

Developing Norra Djurgårdsstaden (NDS), a completely new urban district for 12 000 residents and workplaces for 35 000 people, has been a significant feature of the last two decades of planning in central Stockholm and, naturally, a huge challenge. It was, however, only half-way through the process that the Stockholm City Council in 2009 decided to profile NDS as an internationally competitive hallmark of sustainability, inspired by the previously successful development of Hammarby Sjöstad. This serves municipal marketing purposes while it promotes sustainable and innovative models of urban planning, construction and development that can be adopted by future projects.

Good practices & solutions

Developing a sustainable city district cannot be done by merely assigning the task to the Development Administration at the municipal administration; close co-operation is needed with other departments, construction, housing and other companies, residents and academia. A particular organisation was built up solely for working with NDS, with thematic groups of experts breaking down the many different project goals into specific sustainability requirements. Co-creation of problem definitions and ideas was also present at an early stage by necessity, as those involved in the long and complex development process had different experiences, knowledge, vocabulary and view of the problem, meaning that they needed to develop common frameworks in order to work together. In 2008, KTH conducted a series of future workshops, gathering experts and stakeholders around issues such as transport and energy, in order to gain a broad understanding of the challenges and possibilities of NDS. The outcome of these workshops implied a way forward for developing NDS. In 2010, a World Class Agreement (Swedish: världsklassavtal) was developed by around 100 different actors – including construction companies – regarding NDS. Again, when revising the NDS sustainability vision and targets in 2017, a similar process was conducted, in which researchers, different city administrations and companies, developers, by then established residents and others were involved in working out future challenges and objectives. Requirements specifications have been emphasised throughout the project. First, sustainability requirements are set at a high level.

Second, from an early stage, assigned developers need to declare their data on a regular basis so that requirements can be carefully followed up. Third, the main incentive for living up to requirements is not, as is usually the case, a fine, but open declaration of achievements in NDS’s annual sustainability reports. Not wholly unexpected, many developers anticipated a failure to meet requirements; thus, developing sustainability competence became a highly emphasised part of the process at an early stage. Forum för hållbara lösningar (Forum for Sustainable Solutions) was initiated in 2012 and has held around 20 events where material industry can meet developers to talk about innovative products and businesses. A capacity development programme is held since 2010 of knowledge sharing between involved actors in construction and sustainable development processes. The capacity development programme particularly demonstrates the progress of NDS, but also generally discusses innovative solutions to building sustainable housing. While many actors initially showed reluctance to participate, it only required for a few to join the competence development process for others to follow and subsequently compete with each other regarding learning about sustainability. The close dialogue with constructors also helped to improve project management’s requirement specifications.

NDS works with 5 overarching strategies, each encompassing the three dimensions
of sustainable development:
1) A vibrant city.
Emphasising the public space as an important area for equality and accessibility for all.
2) Let nature do the work
Harnessing green and blue qualities in improving life quality; for example, laying green rooftops is essential in order to meet requirements.
3) Accessibilty and proximity
Providing proximity to societal services and making fossil fuels as redundant as possible by promoting cycling and pedestrians.
4) Resource efficiency and climate responsibility
Creating smart management systems of energy, waste and engaging in a sharing economy. Moreover, a particular centre for re-use and restoration of used materials
and goods creates new value for artisanry connected to these practices, thus enabling a form of circular knowledge.
5) Participation and consultation

Local collaboration within and between neighbourhoods is emphasised through digital and analogue means. In order to experiment and push boundaries in NDS, R&D projects were welcomed to create innovative solutions with NDS as testbed. All projects were coordinated by the NDS strategic sustainability group, promoting projects in particular areas of interest to form a balanced and diverse portfolio of  outcomes. Projects mainly worked according to triple or quadruple helix models, including C/O City, who developed new tools for assessing green qualities in built environment. 7For the NDS project management, the internal anchoring process of the unusual collaboration forms with construction actors, other cities and research institutesultimately took approximately 3-4 years to accomplish; however, the dialogue that has originated out of this process has become particularly beneficial and probably unprecedented for the City of Stockholm. Moreover, the close dialogue format breeds a higher level of respect and understanding due to mutual learning between actorsand their objectives, as well as an environment of constructive criticism.

No particular method has been utilised to foster co-creation apart from general project management tools; managing the chain of ownership by establishing contact higher up in the municipal management structure, and horizontally between departments, has been key to having the right expertise present at as many meetings and forums as possible.

Outcome & opportunities

NDS is currently the home of 6 000 residents having successively moved in since 2012. NDS won the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group Awards in 2015 in the category of sustainable city district, awarded at the UN Paris Climate Conference. Through its high requirements, NDS has implemented a rich variety of sustainable solutions and more are waiting to be implemented. While apartments will be costly, the new land allocation agreement assigns developers to shaping properties in order to maximise accessibility in public spaces to attract a diversity of citizens.

Lessons learned & recommendations

The early stage is crucial for success in terms of co-creating sustainable solutions and knowledge. Aspects in need of particular attention in this regard are: clarifying the objectives and involvement of each actor, working on a strategic level, harnessing leadership, not giving up, have the courage to evaluate regularly, internal anchoring, revising targets, supporting the creative process and a general intuitive feeling. A particular significance is paid to including sustainable goals from the beginning, instead of pasting it onto already existing structures. A challenge hitherto unmanaged in NDS is the continuous documentation and preservation of knowledge generated in the process, in order to ensure that it lives on into other projects.

Further reading

Norra Djurgårdsstaden

The 1,5 billion women challenge

Pedalista is an initiative within the larger programme Women on Wheels, supporting and teaching women to use one of the most sustainable transportation options, the bicycle. The project was founded in 2015 and is currently operating in Sweden and Indonesia. The aim of Pedalista is to improve women’s mobility, increasing their freedom and independence. Hence, the bicycle works as a tool to reach positive social alternative values, especially to people living in poor areas or low-income countries.
Challenges

In many parts of the world, bikes are used almost solely by men due to social conventions saying that women should not bicycle. This is for example the case in Surakarta, Indonesia. A common challenge that Pedalista faces here is the idea that the bicycle should not be used for transportation, but only as a leisure activity for men. As a consequence, places reachable by bicycling are often occupied by men. Generally, men enjoy the perks and freedom attained by biking while women avoid the risks that traffic can bring. Hence, another challenge is undeveloped infrastructure and lack of public transportation. Many streets in Surakarta are forbidden for bicycling since the car is prioritised.

Good practice & solutions

Engagement and communication with the target group (women without access to bicycling) throughout the whole process is fundamental. Using the bicycle to increase empowerment and create societal change at the local level contribute to community development through an approach of increasing inclusion and gender equality. The project is developing a toolbox to be used in other social, cultural and geographical contexts. The toolbox contains methods, approaches and knowledge needed to increase women’s ability to use a bike.

Outcome & opportunities

One outcome from the project is raised community awareness of new ways of transportation. The project has highlighted infrastructural and social barriers preventing women’s mobility and making the women themselves aware of these barriers. An overview of existing barriers is achieved by implementing a gender perspective, something that has been well received by decision makers and local governance in Surakarta. A bicycle is not only a tool to get from point A to point B. It could also provide an opportunity to move out of poverty, create an ability for a safe way to school, implement an independent and healthier lifestyle, favour better integration into society, as well as better access to public spaces.

Lessons learned

Due to social and cultural norms women tend to carry a larger responsibility for household and childcare. This situation has an impact on their travel pattern. Their travel routes and mobility patterns are more complicated than men’s. Women often make several stops when traveling to ensure their caring responsibilities, and they often travel with kids, other family members or goods. By applying a gender perspective to mobility, the bicycle becomes a solution to ease women’s burdens when using the urban public space that meet many of their specific needs. However, bicycling needs to become more accessible to everyone, including men.

Related SDG targets
  • 1.4 By 2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance
  • 3.6 By 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents
  • 3.d Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks
  • 5.b Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women
  • 8.3 Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services
  • 10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
  • 11.2 By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons
  • 11.7 By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities
  • 17.17 Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil
    society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships
Further reading

Photo: © Women on Wheels

The microphone factory/cultural centre

Orchestra Design is an organisation with social entrepreneurs specialised in urban design & city development, based in Paris, France, and St Petersburg, Russia. They work with placemaking as a tool to design good and inclusive public space, capitalising on the human and existing local capital.
Challenges

Tula, with 500 000 inhabitants, is located in central Russia, quite close to Moscow. It is an industrial city, with one of the main industries in sound electronics. A major employer is the world famous Octava microphone factory. The Octava microphones factory, situated in the city centre of Tula, was planned to relocate to the outskirts of the city. The small devices that are put together in the factory require small and delicate fingers, hence, 75% of the work force are older women. However, working conditions were very poor, the environment was polluted, and the factory had difficulties to attract and hire younger women.

Good practices & solutions

What is the best way to attract a new workforce? And could they continue making these small devices in the city centre? The factory makes top class microphones – used by musicians such as U2, Radiohead, Marilyn Manson and Sting. To save the factory from relocating and at the same time improve working conditions for the facctory worker, Orchestra Design and other involved activists wanted to create a creative cluster surrounding the factory, by involving the factory workers. Public facilities, an auditorium and music studios were set up in the nearby buildings. Even a museum telling the history of the machines operating in the neighbouring industry. They opened a school for the workers to attain professional training in engineering and programming. Additionally, they launched an incubator for start-ups in electronics and production, with close links to the factory. The planning of this new cluster influenced the highly needed refurbishment of the factory.

Outcome & opportunities

Out of a microphone factory, a cultural centre of sound and music was set up, presenting new technologies within sound production. As this was developed by the owner of the factory, a large state- owned company, and a private investor, it was a private public-partnership experience, which is relatively new in Russia. It was the idea of linking new start-ups and technologies to traditional, already existing, capacity and infrastructure that appealed to both actors. Additionally, the improved working conditions for the women in the factory, together with the new recreation that facilities in the cultural centre, will hopefully attract a younger workforce. The elderly workforce can then retire, but still recreate in the cultural centre, keeping the generational connection and knowledge transferal intact.

Lessons learned & recommendations

One important lesson learned was to start in one place that is easily influenced, then the neighbouring areas will follow. Additionally, the innovation needs to build on the existing qualities of the space. Local knowledge and competence are key factors. This can become a model for other cities where old industries are meeting similar challenges: “Build on the human capital in the city”and you cannot possibly fail.

Related SDG targets
  • 4.5 By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations
  • 5.b Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women
  • 8.3 Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium- sized enterprises, including through access to financial services
  • 8.6 By 2020, substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training
  • 11.3 By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
  • 17.17 Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships
Further reading

Photo: © Orchestra

The 1,5 billion women challenge

Pedalista is an initiative lead by Living Cities, a non-profit corporation that offers a dynamic platform for urban development and innovation globally. Together with citizens, communities, entrepreneurs, and governments they work for inclusive, resilient and living cities to find new ways of managing cities and implementing change. Pedalista is an initiative within the project “Women on Wheels”, which aims to improve women’s mobility and an initiative that seeks creative ways to provide women access to the cheapest and greenest means of transportation; the bicycle.
Challenges

Pedalista is trying to make cycling accessible to more women all over the world. Many cities are not planned for bikes, forcing bicyclists to share the roads with cars, trucks, buses and motorbikes, making the practice of riding a bike unsafe. This is a physical obstacle that the initiative Pedalista is trying to overcome. However, the hesitance for women to use bikes are not only physical. A common understanding is that mobility behaviour is gendered. Men and women often perceive themselves as mobile but through closer analysis there are both physical and social barriers that keep women from accessing the urban public space to the same extent as men. These barriers can only be highlighted if asking and talking to women themselves. If a gender perspective is not included in the planning process of public space, the needs of women are usually overlooked. When asking inhabitants in Botkyrka if they would like to use the bike, 70% answered positively, however only 4% answered that they actually do.

Good practices & solutions

The aim of Pedalista is to increase the number of women that uses a bike in Botkyrka. In this case, the bicycle is used both as a mobility tool, but also to increase women’s empowerment, as well as contribute to community development based on a gender equal and inclusive approach, creating a change at a local level. The majority of the people working on the project are using the bicycle in their every-day life which have created a broader understanding of the problem, since many of them also represent the target group. Engagement and communication with the target group (women that do not have access to biking) throughout the whole process are crucial. Just because something is not being used, does not mean that people do not want it.

Outcome & opportunities

Pedalista is an ongoing project with the aim to develop and complete the creation of a tool box that includes methods for carrying out analysis, as well as finding and implement solutions to making bicycling more accessible to women and marginalized groups. One insight from working with small scale projects on a local level is that the key factors for success are; involving the target group and think outside the box from a traditional mobility planning discipline.

Lessons learned

The women in Botkyrka do not refrain from using bicycles due to of lack of interest, but because of several social barriers preventing them from using it. Even in well-developed urban areas, women do not utilise mobility options to the same extent that men do. Women’s mobility, especially those living in the suburbs, is often ignored if a gender perspective is not included in the transportation planning. This is due to deeply rooted social and cultural norms, as well as gender-based stereotypes where women, even in developed countries, tend to carry a bigger responsibility for the household and child care. This situation has an impact on their travel patterns. The routes are often more complicated, they make several stops at different times during the day and they often travel with kids or goods. Making the bicycle more accessible supports integration and brings social benefits to areas that are more vulnerable since the possibility to access public spaces increases. The bike can also act as a powerful tool for empowerment, freedom and sustainability.

Related SDG targets
  • 5.1 End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere
  • 5.b Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women
  • 8.3 Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium- sized enterprises, including through access to financial services
  • 10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
  • 11.2 By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding
    public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons
  • 11.7 By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities
  • 17.17 Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships
Further reading

Photo: © Women on wheels

Empowering youth through city farming

4H is an international youth organisation with activities in city farming, animal care, sports, cooking and theatre, amongst others. In Sweden the organisation, and the local 4H-clubs, have worked with city farms since the 1970s, with focus on self-sufficient sshopping centre-scale farming. One of the most important goals of the farm are inclusion and that all members are able to participate in farm activities. Stora Skuggan 4H farm is one of the largest cooperations of city farms in Sweden, with a total of 37 4H-farms spread all over the country.
Challenges

The organisation wants to create inclusive meeting spaces and activities where all children and youths are welcome. The vision of the organisation is that all children and youths will develop a strong sense of commitment and responsibility to respect the surrounding environment. There is an extensive need for urban activities that reach children from all areas, including more economically challenged areas. For example, young girls in the suburbs lack affordable spaces to hang out and the organisation give them an opportunity to spend their leisure time in a welcoming environment. The organisation emphasise that their activities offer an important contribution to society, as few spaces and activities for children are both non-performance and non-commercial based. The aim of creating this space in this kind of the setting is to help children with an unstable social background develop a sense of belonging.

 Good practices & solutions

As a volunteer organisation, the local 4H-club at the city farm engages youths in farming, animal care, nature care and ecosystem knowledge. The 4H city-farms are open for all children and youth. Active members range between the age of 6-25 years. The members and visitors of the farms are girls, to a large majority. One method developed within the 4H-farm is called“mini-leaders”. Becoming a Mini-leader is the first part of the farms’ leadership program, where children from the age of 11 begin to help out at in various ways, for example hosting visitors, and train younger members at farm activities. They also work with ecosystem awareness by engaging and informing other children. Another method applied is the“4H recycle visit program”where children in the ages of 4-8 can through actively follow the life cycle off eggs; from hen to egg and from eggshell to compost and from composted soil to growing crops, giving seeds to feed the hen that produces new eggs.

Outcome & opportunities

These two methods are only two of many that has resulted in a warm, including, accepting and welcoming social environment at the 4H-farm. 4H is a safe place for visitors and members, especially for children with socio-economic burdens at home or in school. The inclusive work of the organisation enables unique social contacts between children and youth of different ages. The members feel needed, which is different from only participating in“consuming activities”or performance focused sports. The engagement of children in the 4H farms has had great impact of the children’s life in general, both at home and at school. There are several examples where children with very poor school results and presence in school activities have changed in a positive direction after participating in 4H-farm activities and becoming part of their community-like environments. Children with a difficult or unstable home environment, have also found support in the Mini leaders, as well as the employed staff at the 4H-farms.

Lessons learned & recommendations

Children and youths develop important life skills when needing to take responsibility from a young age. Through the methods used to engage children and youths, personal development is promoted through“learning by doing”. The physical activity and nature experience that 4H city-farms gives, are powerful and important for developing transferable skills to other contexts. The environment in these activities enables the young participants to discover their strengths, both physically and mentally, and learn about healthy life habits. The programmes run by the 4H-farms also give children and youths in urban contexts an opportunity to learn more about, and develop an interest for, agriculture, animal care and environmental issues.

Related SDG targets
  • 3.d Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks
  • 4.5 By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations
  • 5.5 Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life
  • 8.3 Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium- sized enterprises, including through access to financial services
  • 11.7 By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities
  • 13.3 Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning
  • 15.5 Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species
Further reading

Photo: © 4H

Flickrum, a norm-creative approach to close the gender gap

White Arkitekter is one of Scandinavia’s leading architectural firms and the third largest in Europe. Their research and expertise encom- pass architecture, urban design, landscape architecture and interior de- sign. They create people-centered architecture, inspiring a sustainable way of life. In 2017, they completed the project Flickrum i det offentliga (translated into Girls’ room in the public) where they worked with young women on how they want to take place in urban public spaces.

 

Challenges

There is an obvious lack of public places for girls in contemporary cities. Norms and social structures shape how people’s needs are prioritized, hence reinforcing inequality. One example of this is the mobility factor as transport priorities and infrastructure are directly sprung from existing gender norms. We are often prioritising roads when planning cities, but when exami- ning statistics on car use, it is a mjority of men that are car owners in Sweden. Also, large parts of public funds are used for activities that are dominates by boys rather than activities that are equally accessible for both boys and girls.

Good practices & solutions

In the project Flickrum, White architects gathered a multidisciplinary team with sustainability specialists, designers, architects, and pedagogues, as well as invited young girls to act as place ex- perts in a reference group. This enabled them to target questions of gender and power with the ones concerned, creating an eye-opener for stakehol- ders within urban planning. They also built models of an actual urban space to explore urban form. However, in conversations with stakeholders about questions of equality, the firm experienced prejudices. Public officials ques- tioned the girls’abilities to express their needs and the relevance of exposing them to the planning practice. The initiators of the project want to show that all are experts in being themselves here and now, and everyone’s subjective experiences of the public space is relevant, regardless of age or gender. Additionally, Flickrum used theatre as a tool to communicate the girls’ expe- riences of city spaces. Using art as a tool is a convenient and efficient way to raise awareness, understanding and empathy on the subject.

Outcome & opportunities

The architecture firm realised when working with the project Flickrum that no major financial investments are required to meet the needs of these girls. They do not demand much, they only wish to be able to be outdoors with friends regardless of weather, they want to sit and talk, as if the public space was their living room. If you live in a small apart- ment far from school, you may not be able to bring home several friends. If you have many siblings and parents at home, you may simply want to get away from home for a while. Compared to the costs of giant arenas, sports halls, and malls, this is not a financial issue at all.

Lessons learned & recommendations

It is essential to work with capable and humble architects, urban planners and decision-makers that dare to listen to the various needs different social groups express. We need a more democratic process with a more heterogenous working-force, so more people are heard. It is crucial to be inclusive from the beginning of every planning process. There are two essential fundaments in building something so complex as a city; knowledge and representation. Every time someone new contribute to the process, the knowledge increases. In this perspecive, co-creation gives a new impression of a site, which has a significantly positive effect. Hence, co-creation is a planning method applicable to every context globally. However, as city planning is market-driven, especially with regards to what can become public places, or rather what remains to be public places, the project economy determines the outcome of a city’s public spaces. If there is to be a change in that area, a strong political is needed.

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Related SDG targets
  • 5.5 Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life
  • 10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political in- clusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
  • 11.3 By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
  • 11.7 By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities
  • 16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative deci- sion-making at all levels
  • 17.17 Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships
Further reading

Photo: © White Arkitekter

Pin the creep and raise awareness of sexual harassment

Safecity is a platform that crowdsources personal stories of sexual harassment and abuse in public spaces. The aim is to make data available and useful for individuals, local communities, and local administration to identify factors and behaviours that lead to violence, and work on efficient strategies for solutions. Safecity makes cities safer by promoting equal access to public spaces for everyone, especially women, through the use of crowdsourced data and technology.
Challenges

Many public spaces are occupied by men in India. It is where men loiter and spend time with their friends. Women and girls are rarely seen doing the same. However, we expect a city to be able to provide spaces for all its citizens. A good city has transportation that is safe, clean, affordable, easily available, and provides multiple and flexible options. New Delhi for example, has a great metro system, but it often lacks“the last mile connectivity”which makes women vulnerable to attacks. Safecity believes that“if you want an inclusive city that is safe for women and girls, their needs need to be taken into account. If it’s inclusive for young girls, it’s inclusive for everyone.

”UN Women state that 1 in 3 women face some kind of sexual assault
at least once in their lifetime. Campaigns, such as #metoo, has brought attention to that the problem with sexual harassment might even be much greater than that. In India, a rape occurs approximately every 20 minutes. Yet, most women and girls do not talk about this type abuse due to cultural and social conventions, for example, victim blaming, police fear, and tedious formal procedures. As a consequence, data cannot be gathered, and perpetrators goes unpunished. Breaking the silence and documenting harassment and abuse in public spaces, will help to find the most effective solutions at a neighbourhood level.

Good practices & solutions

On the Safecity website women and witnesses can report cases of sexual harassments and abuse occurring both in private and public spheres. When women are encouraged to report and to break the silence, the organisations can map what has happened where. This information is used to improve interventions and take action against sexual violence. Areas that have emerged as high-risk for women in New Dehli are, for example, stations, station bridges or viaducts, bus stops, along the railway, and markets. What has been identified to decrease sexual harassment in public places are a combination of good lightning, police presence, and a built environment which design is unique in comparison to adjecent areas.

Outcome & opportunities

When women read other people’s stories, it helps them understand what sexual violence is and that it should not be accepted. They also learn about the different types and levels of violence. Nonverbal and verbal harassment are often normalised culturally, which makes women ignore it or blame themselves. The increased solidarity between women creates an immense difference on a social and cultural level. When they hear each other’s stories, they understand that they are not alone.

Lessons learned & recommendations

A city is a living, breathing thing. When the population is changing, the city cannot remain static. City planning need to be more open to listen to people’ issues, needs, demands, and make adjustments. A good city is balanced, where there is space for people for live, work and play in equal measures. A good city is inclusive, meaning for example providing good footpaths and cheap public transportation. Far too many cities lack good footpaths, making it hard to push baby strollers or wheelchairs. A good city has places for everyone to play, not just fields to play football or cricket, that mainly attract boys. A good city has places for women to loiter, to sit down without being stared at or being questioned why they are in a public space.

Safecity believes that it is possible to generalise their methods, because they never go into a neighbourhood with a preconceived notion about the solution. They first examine reported data from the community in focus. Since they have worked across India, Nepal, Cameroon and Kenya the characteristics of the reports differs a lot. For example, in Kenya, incest is often reported, while there is much less public harassment. In Nepal, reports show non-perpetrated violence and child sex abuse, however authorities began to solve the issue of transportation because it is very inadequate to women. This shows the extreme importance of data and to locally adapt working methods to ensure women and girls feel safe.

Related SDG targets
  • 3.d Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks
  • 5.1 End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere
  • 5.2 Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation
  • 5.b Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women
  • 10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
  • 11.2 By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons
  • 11.3 By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
  • 16.b Promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development
  • 16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision- making at all levels
  • 17.17 Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships
Further reading

Photo: © SafeCity

Bridging social gaps by transforming roads into Play Streets

Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI) is a non-profit design and community development organization that partners with under- resourced communities to advance equity and activate the unrealized potential in their neighborhoods and cities. KDI has been taking experiences from working in informal settlements in the global south to other vulnerable areas globally, including to middle and high- income countries where high levels of inequality persist.
Challenges

For generations the streets of Los Angeles served as informal play spaces for children. In recent decades cars have increasingly dominated the streets, with little accommodation for other needs such as safe and accessible spaces to play. Meanwhile research has shown that children’s’ play has a key role in their physical health and intellectual and social development. The possibility for everyday spontaneous play becomes particularly important for poorer children who lack access to many sports and recreation facilities.

Good practices & solutions

The largest public space available in Los Angeles is the 7,500 miles street network that links neighbourhoods and communities. The L.A.“Play Streets”Pilot Program helped residents temporarily transform Los Angeles City streets into places for play, learning, and fun for all ages. In 2015 and 2016 KDI hosted seven“play streets demonstration”events in five park-poor, under-resourced neighbourhoods across the city in partnership with the LA Department of Transport. Play streets can only be held for one day but are recurring more often – transforming streets into semi-permanent public spaces and creating new child-centered and child-driven spaces for recreation, learning, exercise, and culture.

Outcome & opportunities

Play Streets enhance community cohesion and improve community safety. They provide mechanisms for improving health and accessing resources. Play streets can also be integrated into permanent street infrastructure by adding play elements to sidewalks, parklets, plazas, or shared streets or permanently closing of a street for cars. In one instance, gang members who saw the play streets happening repeatedly in their neighbourhood, stopped doing graffiti there and by the third event they put out their basketball hoops onto the street for the kids to use.

Lessons learned & recommendations

Involving the community in the development of productive public spaces, whether temporary or permanent, creates a sense of care and management as well as creating learning and employment opportunities for the community. It is shown here that this kind of context and human based thinking is transferrable as long as it is adapted and grounded in the particular local context. Participation, listening, questioning and close involvement with the group or community you are trying to partner with should be universal. Being embedded in those communities is key when you work with vulnerable populations. It is possible to develop innovative projects, and a rigorous participatory process is the best way to build on the potential of residents and uncover that innovation.

Related SDG targets
  • 3.6 By 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents
  • 5.5 Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life
  • 8.3 Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium- sized enterprises, including through access to financial services
  • 10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
  • 11.2 By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding
    public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons
  • 11.3 By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
  • 11.7 By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities
  • 16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision- making at all levels
  • 17.17 Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships
Further reading

Photo: © KDI

Productive public space planning and design for inclusive ownership

Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI) is a non-profit design and community development organization that partners with under- resourced communities to advance equity and activate the unrealized potential in their neighbourhoods and cities. KDI have taken experiences from working in informal settlements in the global southand applied it on other vulnerable areas globally, including middle and high-income countries where high levels of inequality persist.

Challenges

Like many cities in Africa, Nairobi faces rapid urbanization and growing inequities between the rich and the poor, which influences the accessibility and inclusivity of public spaces in the city. How people behave in public spaces is also greatly influenced by local traditions and cultural norms, which are reinforced by urban planning strategies. For example,the urban planning practice in Nairobi prioritize vehicular access to public spaces and city services, as well as tendencies of replicating colonial approaches. These practices limit the potential of especially girls, children, and women to participate in public life. As Kenya’s urban centres grow at an unprecedented rate, informal settlements continue to spring up on underutilized government land. As a result, women and girls face specific challenges in places such as Kibera, one of Nairobi’s larges concentrated area of inadequate housing. Here, safe access to sanitary utilities, spaces for education and public recreation are limited. In addition, challenges for women increase during the two seasonal rain periods, as insecurity and the occurrence of gender-based violence is linked to the rains and flooding.

Good practices & solutions

Throughout every stage of KDI’s public space projects, the organisation focuses on engaging the whole community during the whole planning process – from locating and conceptualizing a site
to implementing and managing the project and programs. The first step focuses on capacity building in a way that helps the different community groups collaborate around programmes that benefit the community socially and environmentally while managing the physical space. The next step is design, where focus lies in what type of design that would be most beneficial for the community. The third step is modelling and thinking about how this new development will impact the space. When the urban planning is honest, it widens societal norms. In Kibera, KDI revitalises public spaces to make them accessible for a larger user group. They focus on what in other places might seem basal, e.g. levelling the ground to make it walkable, or create spaces for washing clothes or play with friends. They have created little nooks where most of the population can feel safe.

Outcome & opportunities

Each Kibera Public Space Project faces challenges through acknowledging and utilizing Kibera’s assets in place, e.g. community activism, informal economies and entrepreneurship. Each project has been carried out in cooperation and in coordination with the local community. For example, former trash dumping places have been transformed into local social spaces for meetings and gatherings, for children to play, and for providing improved access to home and work, while strengthening local economies. Similar public space projects have been completed at eight spaces across the Kibera neighbourhood. KDI believes that engaging communities around participatory planning and design is key to sustainable development. Working collaboratively with communities from throughout the whole process, from conception to implementation, enhances technical knowledge and design innovation while connecting residents to available resources and municipal services. When KDI engages the whole community in this way, the special needs of women and girls in public spaces emerge and can be translated into an inclusive place for the whole community.

Lessons learned & recommendations

Involving the community in the development of the Kibera Public Space Project automatically creates a sense of care for the local community, through local ownership and management. During this process, public spaces create opportunities
for learning, employment, and activism for the community. That kind of contextual and human centred thinking is transferrable. The process that was developed in Kibera has now been replicated in other parts of the world, including in the USA.

Related SDG targets
  • 1.4 By 2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance
  • 3.6 By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination
  • 4.5 By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations
  • 5.5 Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life
  • 8.3 Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium- sized enterprises, including through access to financial services
  • 10.1 By 2030, progressively achieve and sustain income growth of the bottom 40 per cent of the population at a rate higher than the national average
  • 11.1 By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums
  • g17.17 Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships
Further reading

Photo: © KDI

“Plan a city for girls, and it will work for everyone” global movement

#UrbanGirlsMovement is an initiative by the independent Swedish think tank Global Utmaning, mapping good examples, stories, and lessons learned from multi-stakeholders globally. It highlights ongoing initiatives, implementing the SDGs at the local level. In collaboration with a range of multi-stakeholders, the purpose is to highlight global pro-poor urban development initiatives targeting girls and young women in low-income areas in rapidly urbanizing cities, as well as to develop methods for local and urban development that can be applicable globally. In the long-run #UrbanGirlsMovement aims to contribute to improving the living conditions for girls and young women in vulnerable urban areas through highlighting participatory design and public space planning; promoting public health, sanitation, access to education and employment, and security.

 

Challenges

#UrbanGirlsMovement  was initiated with the  belief that “if we plan a  city for girls, it will work for everyone”. Three quarters of the world’s poorest people live in lower middle-income countries, often without social security or adequate living conditions. Poverty and vulnerability is increasing within many countries as a result of unequal distribution of resources and opportunities, oppression and social exclusion, particularly affects girls and young women. As the world is predominantly urban, poverty is also becoming an increasingly urban phenomenon. More than 1 billion people live in low-income informal settlements, and inequalities are increasing the fastest in cities.

In order to fulfil the SDGs, the interlinkages and integrated nature of the goals and targets are crucial. In the first global mapping of good examples, the main challenges raised by young women globally were; the lack of safe places, gender-based violence, access to education, sex education, adult interactions and role models, and environmental risks. Therefore, addressing specifically SDG 3 Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, SDG 5 Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls and SDG 11 Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable in an integrated manner is the most  effective tool to tackle the challenges and reach the 2030 Agenda.

 

Good practices & solutions

All projects included in the global mapping of good examples and lessons learned focus on improving the living conditions for girls and young women in low-income areas in rapidly urbanizing cities, through participatory design and public space planning. Girls and young women are key stakeholders, hence we have  gained unique insights into some of the specific challenges they face, and how inextricably linked girl’s’ development are to a range of development issues.

 

The participatory design and public space planning highlight the target groups’ needs and establishes priorities in the planning of physical spaces, social and economic programs. The activities empower girls and young women by  improving their living conditions through targeted interventions related to public health, sanitation, education, employment and security. They demonstrate how participatory design and public space planning is crucial as steppingstones for youth to improve their chances of a fruitful life, and at the same time addressing several SDGs.

 

Outcome & opportunities

Prioritising girls and young women in low-income areas in rapidly urbanizing cities is not only  vital for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, but also other global agendas. The project has successfully mapped global good examples that make a difference; empowering girls and young women and improving their lives, with the purpose for  others to learn, be inspired, and  to scale up the work in another context. In line with implementing the 2030 Agenda and the New Urban Agenda, the project has directly or indirectly shown the local application of particularly SDG 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, 11, 16 and 17.

 

The initiative also contributes to the development of  new methods for local urban development and planning that promote safe and productive public spaces, and that can be applicable in a  Swedish low-income areas, and as well as informal urban settlements globally. The ultimate goal  is to propose new urban development methods for feminist urban planning to local municipal leaders and actors that serve the local implementation of the SDGs. This provides an opportunity for #UrbanGirlsMovement to provide policy recommendations to the Swedish Government on how to  turn a ‘Feminist Foreign Policy’ into practice and to identify new priorities for Swedish development cooperation, targeting girls and young women in vulnerable urban areas.

Lessons learned & recommendations

By mapping the local work of our partnering organisations, we have managed to strengthen our belief  “ plan a city for girls, it will work for everyone”. A city for everyone is  sustainable city, where both girls and boys can thrive and develop. But to get there we need to include everyone in the process. Many initiatives do not particularly target girls and young women, but it has been noticed they tend to, in a greater extent than men, take advantage of the opportunities provided. Women also often tend to carefully safeguard the longevity of the project or infrastructure put in place.

 

So, how should a city be planned in order to benefit the most vulnerable populations? Finding solutions that have a positive impact on making cities more inclusive and equal should be a top priority. To summarise, a city is  balanced when there is space for all people to live, work, and play in equal measure. Public space that do meet up to the needs of girls and young women are characterised by:

 

  • Good footpaths and public mobility – the pure ability to push a baby stroller or wheelchair, or walk without looking down to watch your steps. It also provide connectivity to important sites in a city. The mobility issue is a direct issue sprung from norms. A majority of the population does not own a car, but a majority of the public space is taken up by roads, where cars occupy the majority of the space. We need to widen sidewalks and make roads into walkable streets.
  • Places for women, children, and elderly to loiter – benches faced towards each other to make it possible to talk to one another. Experience from informal settlements is that if there are no benches women in skirts or dresses (which corresponds to the majority) will not sit down, neither stay standing but just quickly pass through. But as squatting is common among men, automatically the city will become more accessible to them.
  • Good lightning – makes a place less threatening during the dark hours of the day, for everyone. A city where women cannot access the city at all hours of the day is not an equal city.
  • Visibility and presence of authorities – contribute to the conception of safety. The feeling that everyone can see all the activities carried out in a public place have the potential of leading to a feeling of safety. It encourage positive activity and behaviour. A lively place therefore often becomes a safer place.
  • Open access – semi-public or or semi-private spaces such as parks with fees, museums or restaurant terrasses. Places that are not open access for free, systematically exclude the poorer part of the population.
  • Design – human scale well-adapted design and urban form. It will automatically become an attractive meeting place. A place that is beautiful and differ in design from the majority of the city is less likely to get vandalized and will help strengthening the conception of safety.
  • Flexibility – one element must meet several purposes and functions. It attracts different audiences, at different times of the day. A staircase is a good example, it can be a place to walk, to sit, a meeting place, a training venue, a playground, a stage for performances. The more flexible elements, the more sustainable place.
  • Well working water and sanitation – women are more vulnerable than men when there is insufficient or a lack of toilets and sanitation facilities. In informal settlements the community often share toilets. These, as well as public toilets in high-income areas must be well lit, clean and secure.

 

Related SDG targets

  • 1.4 By 2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance
  • 1.5 By 2030, build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters
  • 1.6 Ensure significant mobilization of resources from a variety of sources, including through enhanced development cooperation, in order to provide adequate and predictable means for developing countries, in particular least developed countries, to implement programmes and policies to end poverty in all its dimensions
  • 1.7 Create sound policy frameworks at the national, regional and international levels, based on pro-poor and gender-sensitive development strategies, to support accelerated investment in poverty eradication actions
  • 3.6 By 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents 
  • 3.7 By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes 
  • 3.8 Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all 
  • 3.9 By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination 
  • 3.d Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks
  • 4.5 By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations 
  • 5.1 End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere 
  • 5.2 Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation 
  • 5.5 Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life
  • 5.b Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women 
  • 5.c Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels
  • 8.3 Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services 
  • 8.4 Improve progressively, through 2030, global resource efficiency in consumption and production and endeavour to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, in accordance with the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production, with developed countries taking the lead
  • 8.6 By 2020, substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training 
  • 10.1 By 2030, progressively achieve and sustain income growth of the bottom 40 per cent of the population at a rate higher than the national average 
  • 10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status 
  • 10.3 Ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, including by eliminating discriminatory laws, policies and practices and promoting appropriate legislation, policies and action in this regard 
  • 11.1 By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums 
  • 11.2 By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons 
  • 11.3 By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries 
  • 11.5 By 2030, significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of people affected and substantially decrease the direct economic losses relative to global gross domestic product caused by disasters, including water-related disasters, with a focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations
  • 11.7 By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities 
  • 11.a Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, per-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning 
  • 11.c Support least developed countries, including through financial and technical assistance, in building sustainable and resilient buildings utilizing local materials
  • 16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels
  • 16.9 By 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration
  • 17.3 Mobilize additional financial resources for developing countries from multiple sources
  • 17.7 Promote the development, transfer, dissemination and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries on favourable terms, including on concessional and preferential terms, as mutually agreed 
  • 17.16 Enhance the global partnership for sustainable development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, to support the achievement of the sustainable development goals in all countries, in particular developing countries 
  • 17.17 Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships 
  • 17.18 By 2020, enhance capacity-building support to developing countries, including for least developed countries and small island developing States, to increase significantly the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data disaggregated by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts 

 

Further reading