Taking issue with social sustainability in Urban Transition
Paper in proceedings, 2013
The politics of urban sustainable transition is becoming increasingly complex as many cities find themselves articulating the tripod of economic, environmental and social sustainability yet a time are unable to tackle an increasing segregation and deeper social gaps leading to outburst of violence and continual unrest underlining that focusing on energy renovation will not suffice.
This status leads the present paper to ask for new possibly innovative approaches to urban transition. It is suggested including young citizens experiences in the landscape of interests necessary to provide the governance. The paper analyzes the lived and narrated experiences of three persons, teenagers of the built environment of deprived suburbs of Swedish cities and towns, using two novels and a biography. They tell us about experiencing if not poverty then serious lack of resources, a feeling of being in the periphery vis a vis the center of town, a series of violent experiences of drug addicts, physical violence also in their families and a feeling of displacement from one’s origin. But also strong feeling of identity being with friends of the same age.
The implications for urban transition are to use a more sensitive and long term set up for developing neighborhoods in a social sustainable direction. It will require a broad social alliance to bridge political and sectorial fragmentation and downplay short term goals.