Urbanization places new demands on urban development. How do we improve the conditions for a sustainable and safe city and tackle the technological paradigm shift we are in?
"It is a lot now" one could say and thus aim at technological innovations, environmental threats, digitization and continued urbanization. The development is at a rapid pace and it is important to be prepared for the challenges we face. How is Sweden developing, where are we going? What does the future look like, can we predict it and prepare ourselves and future generations wisely and adequately? These are some of the issues that were posed at the Future-Safe Society Conference, Mobility and the City at The Enterprise House on May 14 in Stockholm. The focus on the subjects feels highly relevant and the range of speakers this day was also great. It is a great awareness that what we are building today should exist for 100 years, which places high demands on basic idea and implementation.
Matthias Frithiof, Head of Social Development WSP, talked about regional development and about the cities' struggle. We know that cities are growing, but how are they growing and what is driving the economic development?
- We see a high concentration around the metropolitan regions, it is also in the three big cities that more than half of Sweden's population and employment are. The population is increasing most in the urban countryside around the larger cities, he explains.
The reason why the city is growing is that it is where the cities are located work and labor, education, service, meeting places, culture and entertainment as well as customers. Housing, on the other hand, is the lack of which Jonas Frycklund, bitter chief economist at Swedish Enterprise, raised during his appearance. The growing city entails positive and negative consequences, of which congestion, high housing prices security and safety, health and the environment can be counted as frictions to be inflicted on. Trade, innovation, meetings and new ideas count towards the city's positive functions
- We must utilize the cities' own power and drive the positive development. The city needs to retain and adopt a new contemporary role, says Göran Hallin, strategic advisor at Kontigo.
On his slide is to read that the city has been a center for innovations, but that in the future, and already today, it is no longer needed in the same way for these meetings. So how should the city continue to be a center for innovations.
- I will argue that the future lies in the city's own hands, concludes Göran Hallin.
Historically, fewer young people are moving than before, and more and more 20-27-year-olds live to a large extent involuntarily at home. The delayed establishment process has consequences as it, among other things, delays the employment access in the labor market. It can be difficult to move away from home, to the place of study and then to the place of work.
- The housing shortage results in some not being able to read the subjects you want to read because there are no homes in the place of study. One can be forced to refuse jobs because there is no home, which of course is not good at all, says Jonas Frycklund.
The lock-in effects have consequences that delay the entire life process for young people. More young people also have no financial opportunity to ask for the housing available in the labor market.
- Unless highly educated can afford to or the opportunity to move, it strikes growth.
The VAT, the moving tax and the high building requirements make it difficult, here one would have to think again, Jonas Frycklund concludes.
The panel discusses
In the concluding panel discussion, among others, the above mentioned speakers and Kent Person, social policy chief at Heimstaden and Maria Brogren, head of sustainability and innovation WSP Sweden participated. Here, ideas were raised about increased cooperation between the business sector and municipalities where it was predicted that more pragmatic municipalities will succeed. A cleansing sometimes the regulations were requested, but there was no answer to who was to handle that job. The regulations that exist today put a spanner in the wheel to build cheaper meant Kent Person who also wanted to improve the balance between supply and demand in the housing market. New arrivals and young people need more access to the existing stock as new production is often too expensive for the target groups.