Sweet tooth, soothsaying or serious business? Forecasting the building activities in a town area
Paper in proceeding, 2017

Urban developments are in many ways in a continual tension between fragmentation, dispersion and controlled plans and many actors, with vested political interests are contributing to these tendencies. The building industryare interested in, have an appetite for growth and/or at least maintaining their share of the upcoming building projects. The Gothenburg area, with some 1 million inhabitants, are no exception to the above characterization. Numerous plans and developments are flourishing, and in the debate, actors state from 78 to 125 million euros in investments in infrastructure, new public institutions, dwellings and housing etc. The aim of this paper is to generate a forecast for the needed manpower given the planned building activities in the Gothenburg area. And to critically scrutinize the context, the method and the results.The paper’s conceptual framework build on approaches to forecasting urban, industrial and labour market developments. The paper describes these different approaches, with different scope and conceptualisation of the dynamics. We take issue with forecasts building on implicit linear prognosis, with their inbuilt modern ideology, and introduce concepts of fragmentation, dispersion and emergence to better account such elements in our forecast.The material for the paper comes from a collaboration with the local industry. Generating the forecast encompasses a host of methodological challenges. Triangulation of other previous investigations were used and these adopted different concepts and scope in time and geographical area. A critique of the value of the gathered material and our own platform will be carried out. Are even this forecast merely an expression of the local industry’s taste for growth, which come to represent a candy for them? The result shows a very considerable need for new manpower over the next ten years. Using combined forecasts the calculation reach estimates between 17 and 25,000 new employees per year. A large uncertainty mirroring the shaky basis of the forecast. The contributiondiscuss mitigation strategies which include education, mobilizing refugees, and global sourcing. When taken as serious business the local community with all its players have work to do, if the region is to live up to demands of future welfare society.


labour market

Urban development



Christian Koch

Chalmers, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Construction Management

Anders Lutteman

Architecture and Civil Engineering

Buser M., Lindahl G. & Räisänen C. (eds), Proceedings of the 9th Nordic Conference on Construction Economics and Organization. Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg

9788750211259 (ISBN)

Areas of Advance

Building Futures (2010-2018)

Subject Categories

Civil Engineering



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