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Mångfaldig stad i stadsförtätningens tid

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Gabriella Olshammar
Publicerad i Bebyggelseshistorisk tidskrift
Nummer/häfte 59
Sidor 66-81
ISSN 0349-2834
Publiceringsår 2010
Publicerad vid Institutionen för kulturvård
Sidor 66-81
Språk sv
Ämnesord Urban diversity, Infill, Industrial use, Artist studios
Ämneskategorier Social och ekonomisk geografi


Summary The subject of this article is a reused sugar factory on the south bank of the river in Göteborg (Gothenburg), with infill development in progress in the immediate vicinity. The author asks whether the ongoing infill is compatible with objectives laid down in the current municipal comprehensive plan for Göteborg for the development of a more diversified city. The reason for asking this question is that research in the field of urban studies has for a long time now been observing that urban infill and the conversion of dockside and industrial areas have often led to fairly uniform, exclusive urban environments affording no scope for functional and residential diversity (Amin, Massey & Thrift 2000; Cupers & Miessen 2002; Dovey & Sandercock 2002; Edensor 2005; Franck & Stevens 2007; Hakelius 2009). The case of the sugar factory has been chosen for study because the building houses a very wide variety of activities today and also because it is owned and managed by a municipal property company − Higab. The purpose of the article is to ascertain whether Higab can be regarded as a tool for the municipality to realise and combine the two partly conflicting aims of urban infill and a greater diversity of uses. The study took place in 2008−2009 and entailed visiting the site, studying records and interviewing tenants and landlord representatives. During the past 20 years the Sugar Factory has undergone a significant transformation, in that a considerable number of silent and less space-demanding activities have moved in while noisier more space-demanding ones have moved out. Several people have declared their appreciation of the diverse mix of activities still existing here today, but also their fears of engineering companies and intellectual workers being displaced by a larger proportion of office activities or even housing. It is not uncommon for artists and intellectual workers to have spotted early on the potentialities of industrial premises, such as large open spaces and big windows. Later, when those qualities are perceived as also being a good thing for offices, institutions and housing, this can provide incentives for displacement through heavier investments and, consequently, higher rents. In the first place, remaining industrial activities are then ousted, followed by the cultural activities which first spotted the possibility of putting industrial facilities to new use. Higab’s role in this situation can be summed up by saying, firstly, that there appears to be a lack of clarity within Higab concerning the commitments the company is to have towards different kinds of tenant. Secondly, Higab seems to be in the process of redefining the way in which a craft enterprise is to be perceived today and, accordingly, the activities for which Higab is to be a facilitator. And thirdly, a strategy of profit maximisation through higher rent levels is being justified by recurrent reference to proper management of the taxpayers’ material assets. But this could lead to a diversity of activities being unable in practice to afford staying on. Maximisation of taxpayers’ assets would then take place at the expense of citizens’ access to unique urban qualities that can hardly be replaced.

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