Cities and urbanism have become increasingly central to social change because of their dominance in culture and politics and as a result of massive urbanization. In line with such developments, ‘urban studiesʼ has grown into a broad research field that embraces study across disciplines within social sciences and urban planning. The central idea behind this journal is that a strengthened Nordic community of urban scholars can advance the debates within this field of study. In this editorial article, we elaborate on the scholarly foundation that provides the starting point for the journal and critically reflect on how urban experiences in the Nordic countries may provide responses and solutions to challenges of the 21st century. In doing so, we trace some of the research traditions in Nordic societies that can underpin the scholarly advances this journal seeks to make. Finally, we outline an interdisciplinary urbanist approach that we aspire to develop through this journal and point towards research topics that may be well served by further exploration from a Nordic perspective.
This article identifies visionary circumspection as a conceptual vector running through Nordic urban research – a diverse enterprise with robust empirical outputs, but relatively little premium placed on the generation of urban theory. To foster new cross-regional conversations that can bolster the theoretical fecundity of Nordic urban studies, the author overviews key themes in the region’s urban research portfolio – well-being, diversification and socio-spatial transformations, governance and development models, and sustainable futures – and then delineates sites in other world regions that are grappling with related topics but sometimes with different approaches or conceptualizations. By situating Nordic urban research vis-à-vis these disparate sites and theoretical repertoires, the article aims to leverage Nordic self-regard and open up discussions that could enable more ambitious theoretical engagements between the region’s cities and the rest of the world.
This article aims to investigate the extent to which urban design can explain white, middle-class womenʼs perceptions of safety in Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm, whilst simultaneously contributing to the urgent need for intersectional perspectives on CPTED planning. The design of this newly-built residential area was inspired by Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles in order to reduce residentsʼ fear of crime. Whilst crime surveys have illustrated that residents feel very safe in the area, there has been limited investigation into the extent to which Hammarby Sjöstadʼs urban design contributes to low fear of crime and, more specifically, womenʼs perceived safety. To close this gap, interviews were conducted with female residents in Hammarby Sjöstad alongside interviews with key stakeholders. Contributing to ongoing discussions on fear, whiteness and place, findings report that women in Hammarby Sjöstad understood their perception of safety to stem from the homogeneity of their neighbourhood as most inhabitants were white and middle-class. Along with its clear physical boundaries, this led some women to liken the neighbourhood to a gated space. Learning from this, its CPTED design played a large role in reducing womenʼs fear of crime, albeit not in the way that was initially anticipated.
En av ideene bak sosial blandingspolitikk er at individer som bor i samme nabolag, danner nettverk og sosiale relasjoner på tvers av klasse og etnisitet. Antagelsen er at personer fra lavere klasser og/eller med minoritetsbakgrunn vil dra nytte av denne sosiale kapitalen i form av oppadgående sosial mobilitet samt sosial og kulturell integrering i storsamfunnet. Ved å bruke åpningen av en ungdomsklubb på vestkanten i Oslo som case diskuterer jeg sosial blandingspolitikk og områdebaserte tiltak i en norsk kontekst, og hvorvidt antakelsene som ligger til grunn er realistiske. Studien baserer seg på deltagende observasjoner og semistrukturerte intervjuer med ungdom, lærere og sosialarbeidere. Artikkelen viser at klasseforskjeller hindrer sosiale relasjoner og ressursutveksling på tvers, og at symbolske grensedragninger basert på klasse, etnisitet og bosted kan svekke «ungdoms følelse» av tilhørighet til grupper og steder. Studien illustrerer at strukturelle og kontekstuelle faktorer må innlemmes i utviklingen av politikk og tiltak som skal bidra til å løfte boligområder, og at disse faktorene bør være ledsaget av tiltak innen velferds-, bolig- og byutviklingspolitikk.
One of the ideas behind social mix policies is that individuals who live in the same neighbourhood, create networks and social relations across class and ethnicity. The assumption is that people from the lower classes and/or with minority background will benefit from this social capital in terms of upward social mobility and social and cultural integration in the society at large. Through using the opening of a youth club on the west side of Oslo as a case study, I discuss social mix policies and urban area programmes in a Norwegian context and whether the assumptions behind are realistic. The study is based on participant observations and semi-structured interviews with youths, teachers and social workers. The article demonstrates that differences in class hinder social relations and exchanges of resources across class and ethnicity, and that symbolic boundary work based on an intersection of class, ethnicity and residency can obstruct youthʼs sense of belonging to groups and places. The study demonstrates that structural and contextual factors must be incorporated in the development of policies and measures to improve neighbourhoods, and that these must be supplemented with measures within welfare-, housing- and urban policies.
Nordic Journal of Urban Studies
1-2021, volume 1
Cities and sustainable urban development have been raised as key research topics internationally. ‘Urban studiesʼ has emerged as a broad field of research that includes studies in several disciplines, with emphasis on social geography, planning and development studies, sociology, environmental science and political science. Research here is largely about exploring structures, expansion and transformation of cities, urban processes of inclusion, exclusion, marginalization and liberation, as well as economic and political processes.
Research environments are strengthened by interdisciplinary arenas for dialogue on such issues. Still, many of the discussions within urban research in the Nordic countries take place either in disciplinary national journals or in interdisciplinary international journals. The Nordic Journal of Urban Studies represents a new Nordic academic arena for interdisciplinary urban studies and welcomes empirical and theoretical papers that contribute to our understanding of cities
The journal is Open Access and is published twice a year by Scandinavian University Press.
Gro Sandkjær Hanssen, Senior researcher, NIBR, OsloMet and professor II, NMBU
Marikken Wullf-Wathne, Doctoral student, Division of Urban and Regional Studies, KTH Royal Institute of Technology and NIBR, OsloMet
Bengt Andersen, Senior researcher, AFI, OsloMet
Per Gunnar Røe, Professor, Department of Sociology and Human Geography, UiO
Jørn Ljunggren, Senior Research Manager, Ipsos
Håvard Haarstad, Professor, Department of Geography, UiB
Tarje Iversen Wanvik, Research Director, NORCE Climate and Environment
Lisbet Harboe, Associate Professor, Institute of Urbanism and Landscape, The Oslo School of Architecture and Design
Contact the editors:
Design og sats: Type-it AS, Trondheim
ISSN online: 2703-8866
© Universitetsforlaget 2021