1. Is this none of the contractor’s business? Social Sustainability Challenges informed by popular literature
Journal article, 2014
In Sweden many suburbs built at the end of the 1960s are in need of physical renovation to comply with new
energy regulations. Some of these neighbourhoods face serious social challenges which also need to be tackled.
The three largest Swedish contractors, usually very active in providing technical and environmentally friendly
renovation, claim now they can provide social sustainability solutions on a commercial basis. For many years
the problems of deprived suburbs have attracted the attention and the care of the public institutions, and though
many initiatives have been carried out to address these issues, results have been sometimes quite limited. To discuss
the social challenges linked to suburbs’ renovation, an alternative method is proposed: the analysis of literary
accounts. The goal is to assess whether stories relating the lives of residents in deprived Swedish suburbs can
inform and therefore contribute to the development of socially sustainable solutions. Referring to the literature
on social sustainability, this qualitative and explorative study uses critical discourse analysis as the method.
Results suggest that focusing on renovated housing, employment, social services and leisure activities is not
enough to rehabilitate disadvantaged neighbourhoods. They also indicate some specific problems linked to the
built environment that contractors could help to solve.