Urban proximity: to what and for whom? The long-term development and social distribution of sustainable accessibility in selected Swedish urban regions

Research project
Active research
Project size
2 591 048
Project period
2022 - 2026
Project owner
Unit for Human Geography, Department of Economy and Society

Short description

Accessibility in terms of individuals’ possibilities to reach important amenities in everyday life such as jobs, services and leisure, is fundamental for individual’s quality of life as well as the attractiveness and functioning of cities.

A key goal in transportation and land use policy and planning is thus to improve accessibility – traditionally by increasing individual mobility (car-use). However, the ongoing shift towards sustainable planning and development puts stronger emphasis on enabling ‘accessibility by proximity’; e.g. promoting denser cities, slower modes (walking, biking) and reducing transport related emissions. However, in this changing situation the social dimensions of sustainability need increased attention. The aim of the project is to examine social changes in sustainable accessibility within selected Swedish cities over a longer period (1990-2017). Who gains better access, where, to what activities, and by what means, are the essential questions raised. We investigate the changing opportunities for different social groups to get access to amenities important in everyday life – by locational proximity and slower modes. We analyze to what extent actual changes are explained by the (re)location of amenities (e.g. retail clustering) and geographical population changes (e.g. urban sprawl, segregation). Quantitative data and methods are used, including longitudinal register data of the total population each year, GIS and multivariate statistical analysis.