Urbana nyckelprojekt: Planeringsverktyg för sköra stadslandskap
Licentiatavhandling, 2014

This thesis investigates and develops Key urban projects as planning tools in urban transformation processes. Of particular interest here is the relevance for what the text defines as Fragile Urban Landscapes, e.g. local planning situations that, depending on regional and global transformation and local lack of resources, skills and mandates, are locked within the current situation and therefore make political, social, economic etc. processes vulnerable. Fragile urban landscapes appear in the combination of (a) urban competition between municipalities to attract inhabitants, economic investments etc., (b) uneven geographic development and (c) topological and (d) discursive change. The urban complexity of overlaid topographic, topological and relational, sense-making aspects needs planning-tools able to handle space as interlinked processes, rather than space as form. Both practice and research point at a research-gap here. Key Urban Projects is here defined as specific spatial innovations with the ability to open, lock or change direction of an overall transformation process. The aim of the research is to understand how key urban projects can be developed and used as a complementary tool in the planning process. The work has two directions: First, to understand how the projects capacity can be made relevant in order to support the planning process, and second, to understand how key projects can be developed in order to turn planning into actual implementation. The work take onset in five empirical contexts; In-Depth Comprehensive plan Mariestad, Selma Lagerlöfs Square, New city center of Kiruna, Comprehensive plan Karlsborg and Structural Image Skaraborg. These five contexts all connect to the authors own experience of practice and can be seen as examples of how fragile urban landscapes appear in different ways. Practice- and design-based research has continuously been integrated with the development of a theoretical and methodological framework to describe how key urban projects, as a tentative and projective method within planning, can identify issues and problems and show how specific urban situations of transformation can be opened or locked. The results show how key urban projects can be used to make visible conditions of the urban landscape, map urban ecologies, sort the mapping into relevant spatial aspects (absolute, relative and relational) and clarify their dynamic interplay. By way of gathering available resources and transgress the fragile local situation into an operative mode, specific possibilities and processes of change can be supported and strengthened. The mapping process that reveals planning-conditions can be defined as an arrangement that constitute an assemblage of a specific situation and intervention. In order to strengthen fragile urban landscapes and make up alternatives to reproduction of uneven geographic development, key urban projects needs to be able to change spatial articulations and urban rhythms that in turn can reveal, consolidate, change, code or re-code diagrammatic layers. In sum, the thesis demonstrates that to be operative tools and support the planning-process, Key Urban Projects need to have the capacity to: (1) Run and modulate a mapping process that investigates and describe the urban landscape as urban ecologies and include as diversity of objectives and meaning. (2) Identify, analyse and affect spatial processes that open or block preconditions for the formations of the urban landscape. (3) Constitute concrete interventions that effect position and function within networks and change spatial sense-making. (4) Establish platforms for critical negotiations and dialogue of alternatives for long-term sustainable development. (5) Open up possibilities for collaboration that combine available resources, skills and mandate to secure implementation.



Relational Space.


Fragile Urban Landscape

Urban Ecologies

Key Urban Projects

Opponent: Anne Tietjen, Assistant professor, Section for Landscape Architecture and Planning, University of Copenhagen, Denmark


Nils Björling

Chalmers, Arkitektur




Building Futures

Opponent: Anne Tietjen, Assistant professor, Section for Landscape Architecture and Planning, University of Copenhagen, Denmark