Planning for socially mixed and inclusive neighbourhoods

The project will contribute to Nordic Added Value by generating new knowledge and evidence to support the planning and development of Nordic cities and urban areas to become more socially sustainable and inclusive. This will be achieved by exploring topics and questions that are of high relevance to the Nordic urban policy and planning agendas. In this project this means investigating how Nordic governments and cities work to counteract segregation and created more socially mixed and inclusive cities and neighbourhoods.

The sharing of experiences, know-how, and learnings by bringing together relevant national, regional, local and cross-border actors from across the Nordic Region is also central for creating Nordic added value, which will be done through different dissemination activities. 

While Nordic cities have traditionally had low levels of segregation, more recently, there have been growing concerns about increasing disparities between different population groups, which is reflected in greater socio-economic and ethnic segregation in many cities. There are especially concerns that certain neighbourhoods are developing unfavourably and falling into a state of decline. Hence, Nordic governments and cities have taken actions to reduce segregation and promote social inclusion through various policy and urban planning measures. 

The purpose of this project is to deepen the understanding of how different urban planning and policy measures are used to create more socially inclusive and mixed neighbourhoods in Nordic cities. The aim of creating more socially inclusive neighbourhoods can be understood as creating communities where people can take part and feel included regardless of their resources, lifestyle, background, or abilities. The project examines initiatives and actions taken at different territorial levels. In the Nordic countries, national governments have introduced a range of policies and strategies to prevent segregation and increase the social mix in cities, while planning interventions are typically carried out at the city or district level. A core interest also concerns interaction between the state and municipalities, and how different public sector organisations and other actors work together to tackle segregation.  

Among the key topics to be explored is also the role of different indicators for measuring and monitoring the status and development of districts and neighbourhoods. The focus will be on how different quantitative and qualitative indicators are used for monitoring urban development and for identifying disadvantaged and declining areas, but also for following up on the progress of initiatives. Another key aspect to be explored concerns participatory planning approaches involving citizens and other stakeholder groups. Here, a core interest is to examine how different types of participatory planning approaches are used in Nordic cities to strengthen inclusion both in newly built and in existing neighbourhoods. This may entail investigating how people are involved in the planning process, for instance using co-creation and placemaking approaches, but also in the management of existing neighbourhoods to strengthen trust and unity. A question of interest is also to uncover how these types of approaches have succeeded in strengthening social inclusion in local communities. 

The project is part of an assignment from the Nordic Thematic Group for Urban Development in the Nordics.

More information about the Nordic Thematic Group for Urban Development in the Nordics can be found here.