Two new articles published on urban and territorial development

Senior Research Fellow Luciane Aguiar Borges published two articles: ‘Using the Past to Construct Territorial Identities in Regional Planning: Case Mälardalen Sweden’ in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research – IJURR and ‘The (Un)sustainability of Imagined Future Information Societies’ in the CHI ’17 Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Denver, Colorado, USA.

‘Using the Past to Construct Territorial Identities in Regional Planning: The Case of Mälardalen, Sweden’, examines how the past is used in the construction of regional identity narratives in policy discourses and documents. Despite assumptions that regional identity is based on shared culture, some authors argue that new forms of regional identity have emerged as the consequence of regions’ involvement in wider networks. Identity has been pursued as an asset to regional attractiveness and economic growth and, as such, is shaped by regional development strategies concerning particular social groups. Socially shared representations of the past through history, cultural heritage and collective memory play an important role in this process, since the past is a powerful resource that may be used to construct images of places, legitimizing claims on territories. Document analysis and interviews with planners are used to analyse strategies for regional development in five counties located in the Mälardalen region, Sweden. This study shows that regional strategies are guided by narratives framing regions from an exclusive outside perspective, leaving internal qualities unnoticed. The past is used to structure these narratives and construct identities that serve economic growth rather than the integration of the plural heritages of the region. Read the article here.

‘The (Un)sustainability of Imagined Future Information Societies’ describes the results of a research project in the intersection of HCI and Futures Studies as well as in the intersection between “the future information society” and sustainability. The study present parts of the body of materials that were developed in a multi-year research project with the aim of describing and evaluating the sustainability impact of possible future information societies. It also discusses some of the lessons learned and what HCI and design fiction can learn from Futures Studies in general and from this project in particular. The main stakeholders in this project have been city administrators and corporate partners, and the overarching goal has primarily been to influence planning processes at the regional (Stockholm, Sweden) level. Read the article here.