Norra Sorgenfri Planned, Populated and Problematised: The role of social sustainability in urban renewal

Last changed: 28 March 2023

An analysis of the role of social sustainability in the transformation of an urban industrial area in the city of Malmö, Sweden.

In this project we bring together researchers from four disciplines at three universities to study how social sustainability takes shape through the redevelopment of Norra Sorgenfri. In this industrial area close to Malmö’s city centre, the vision is to create a residential neighbourhood where attractive and safe public spaces should both enhance life within the area, and contribute to enhancing mobility between Malmö’s deprived peripheries and the inner city.

In scrutinising this attempt to create a neighbourhood that should mend a segregated city we focus on what work social sustainability – a living concept bereft of fixed meaning - does. Through centring on how planning addresses the area’s industrial legacy as resource and source of problems, how plans articulate future visions, and the experiences of those now moving to Norra Sorgenfri, we explore social sustainability's possible roles and effects.

The project is of societal value in two ways. First, new knowledge about social sustainability should provide feedback to planners involved in Norra Sorgenfri’s renewal at a time when core strategies can still be reoriented, and inspire those thinking about social sustainability elsewhere. Second, drawing together a group of academic and extra-academic actors (planners, policy-makers, inhabitants of Norra Sorgenfri, civil society organisations, etc.) should spur the kind of continued discussion required for social sustainability to be a progressive planning goal.


Project leader

Erik Jönsson, Researcher, Dept. of Human Geography at Lund University
Read more on Erik Jönsson's presentation web page

Project participants

Mattias Qviström, Professor, Division of Landscape Architecture, SLU

Burcu Yigit Turan, Associate Senior Lecturer, Division of Landscape Architecture, SLU, +4618672533
Read more on Burcu Yigit Turan's CV page
Send an e-mail to:

Carina Listerborn, Professor, Dept. of Urban Studies, Malmö University
Read more on Carina Listerborn's presentation web page

Project time


External funding

Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development (Formas)