The Her City project in Flemingsberg in Sweden “Urban Challenges” is a joint initiative together with a range of private partners (MTR Nordic, Fabege) and Huddinge municipality. The project was facilitated by the civil society organisations Impact Hub / Changers Hub and financed by the Swedish Institute. It included activities from Her City Block 1, 3, 4 and 5. The project focuses on accessible urban mobility with a specific concentration on safety in public transportation and station areas.
Category: Public and private sector
Location: The street Hälsovägen located in Flemingsberg centrum, the Södertörn station area, a parking lot close to a supermarket and a parking lot close to the station.
Time: February 2021 – November 2021
Partners: UN-Habitat, Global Utmaning, private company MTR Nordic and Fabege, civil society organisations Impact Hub / Changers Hub and financed by the Swedish Institute.
Participants: Children from local school Annerstaskolan and women from the area.
The Flemingsberg project focused on increasing the safety of public transport spaces, specifically for vulnerable groups such as: women, children, people with disabilities and elders. The project started off with an exploratory walk in Flemingsbergs centrum evaluating the safety and the state of the station area. Four sites were identified as particularly challenging and highlighted as prioritised areas: the street Hälsovägen located in Flemingsberg centrum, the Södertörn station area, a parking lot close to a supermarket and a parking lot close to the station. The project also identified challenges in Flemingsberg related to problems of unemployment and a general perception of Flemingsberg as an unattractive area.
The exploratory walk was the first activity of the project and was conducted together with local residents of different ages and mostly women. Following the exploratory walk the participants had a Method Kit brainstorming workshop where they identified the main challenges of Flemingsberg as a lack of community and promotion for the local business and restaurants in the area. A second group of participants, children from the local school Annerstaskolan, also evaluated the public spaces in Flemingsberg that surrounded the station area. The Method Kit workshop was conducted in smaller groups of children, dividing participants into groups of boys and girls to observe any differences in the views of the two groups. In general, the groups consisting of girls paid more attention to activities for all groups in the area from children to elders, whereas the boys paid more attention to activities in the space that they would want themselves.
In the Method Kit workshop the participants expressed a desire to change the narrative and perception of Flemingsberg, and the participants found it important to increase the attractiveness of the place. Following the Method Kit workshop, the children built their design suggestions for the station area in Minecraft. The suggestions’ main focus was increased greenery in the area to ensure biodiversity and creation of work opportunities and meeting places for all. The suggestions ranged from greenhouses to beehives. The greenhouse would be managed by the municipality with the possibility of hiring residents to work with selling the produce grown there. In addition, there was an open call posted online where people were encouraged to share their design ideas in Minecraft, a call that enabled a dialogue between decision-makers and the residents.
The Minecraft exercise of creating design suggestions bridged a gap between professionals and the children from the local school. The Her City project in Flemingsberg has directed the attention to the youth in the area and enabled them to raise their opinions on the present Flemingsberg and create their visions for the future of Flemingsberg. It also changed both private and public sector’s perceptions around what should be the main priorities and focus for future development and regeneration.
The participatory workshops highlighted a sense of questioning among the participants whether the interest and influence of the youth’s own opinions on public space design was really being valued. The recommendation of the project is to ensure that resources are in place to guarantee the implementation of the suggestions within a relatively short time frame after the planning and design process has been finalised. This would convince participants that their voice matters to the urban planning process and that their priorities are taken into account as valid and democratically underbuilt solutions.
Block 1: Stakeholder engagement
A multi-stakeholder team of girls and professionals to mainstream youth, gender and socio-economic perspectives throughout the entire planning, design and implementation process.
Block 2: City wide assessment
A city level analysis based on girls and young women’s observations and a list with their top priority spaces to be improved.
Block 3: Site specific assessment
Collecting quantitative and qualitative data by girls and young women on the state of the space that is considered a top priority for improvement.
Block 4: Analysing challenges
A joint vision for the space based on a detailed analysis of the girls’ needs and current privileges in the space.
Block 5: Designing ideas
A rough design in Minecraft of the new space made by the girls and professionals based on the solutions identified throughout the process.
Block 6: Recommendations
A joint action plan for the space where girls and professionals negotiate ways forward for implementation and potential impact of the project.
Block 7: Action plans
Detailed plans collaboratively developed by the girls and professionals for the construction phase including cost estimations and maintenance plans.
Block 8: Sharing results
Approval to move forward and start construction from decision-makers and community and spreading of knowledge gained throughout the project.
Block 9: Implementation and follow-up
An evaluation of the process, follow up on construction by the girls and a final report on the results of the entire project with a mainstreaming strategy to scale up similar initiatives.
Her City is a joint urban development initiative by UN-Habitat (the United Nations Human Settlements Programme) and the independent think tank Global Utmaning (Global Challenge).