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Complete consensus to accelerate construction of student housing

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What can we do together to accelerate the construction of student housing? That was the crucial question at a workshop that the University of Gothenburg, Chalmers and The Association of Student Unions in Gothenburg arranged on 6 May. More land to build on - preferably earmarked for student housing - quickly proved to be a key issue. Increased collaboration between the city, higher education institutions, the business community and student organizations will also be decisive for the result.

For a long time, there has been a shortage of student housing in Gothenburg. In 2016, the collaboration group Gbg7000+ was formed with the goal of building at least 7,000 new student housing units in 2016-2026. Now half the time has passed and a gathering of strength and more cooperation is needed to achieve the goal. Therefore, representatives of the University of Gothenburg, Chalmers, the student unions, the City of Gothenburg, the County Administrative Board, the business community, foundations as well as municipal and parliamentary politicians gathered to discuss the issue.

Big engagement 

A lot is going on and there is a great deal of commitment. Among other things, The Association of Student Unions in Gothenburg (GFS) plan to apply to become the student city of the year 2025-2026.

– This workshop is the starting point for that, says Petter Häggberg, Chairman of GFS. For us to succeed, the student housing issue needs to be resolved and a good collaboration between different actors in the city is also crucial.

Housing is a crucial issue that affects the entire life situation and if the housing shortage can be solved, many other problems will disappear, both for the individual and for society. There is also a need for different types of student housing that are suitable for younger students who come directly from upper secondary school, as well as postgraduate students with families.

Shortage of land

The University of Gothenburg and Chalmers are centrally located and most students want to live close to their campus, but central Gothenburg is crowded and there is a lot of competition for land. This means that the lack of land is one of the biggest bottlenecks for housing construction. Complicated regulations, long processing times for planning permissions as well as high construction costs are other obstacles where constructive solutions are needed.

The important role of students for the city

There is a great consensus about the students' important role for Gothenburg and a desire that as many as possible remain even after their studies. Companies and organizations have a growing need for a trained workforce in order to establish themselves in the city as well as for their growth. Being able to broaden the labour market by, for example, placing more public authorities in Gothenburg is also desirable.

– Students today make up more than ten percent of Gothenburg's residents. In the future, they will be even more and everyone needs somewhere to live. We need to figure out where the problems lie and continue the dialogue and collaboration. For Gothenburg as a city of knowledge, more student housing is a crucial issue, but I am positive, it is going in the right direction, says Eva Wiberg, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Gothenburg.

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By: Stina Björkerud