”Planera och bygga bostäder snabbare?” Insikter och lärdomar från satsningen BoStad2021 i Göteborg
Rapport, 2022

In 2014, two Göteborg housing developers and one architectural firm presented the city with a proposal for accelerating the development of new projects to satisfy residential demand. The political response was to launch a programme, later called BoStad2021, linked to the 400-year anniversary of the foundation of Göteborg, and the target was to have 7,000 dwellings finished by the end of 2021. These dwellings were intended to be an addition to the “ordinary” production volume, which in preceding years was about 2,000 dwellings annually. The city was to select sites, almost only in suburbs due to the city densification policy, and no less than 31 sites were identified, corresponding to 26 developers, of which four companies were owned by the city itself. From the outset, the programme had a stated political emphasis on meeting two deadlines: for the approval of the detailed development plans and for the completion of all projects.

Internal municipal coordination was strengthened by creating a group of three project managers, one from each department, and shifting their main responsibilities according to project stages. Staff from departments were co-located, physically supporting closer interdepartmental coordination. Attempts were made to move from sequential processing of plans and permits to parallel processing, especially of detail planning and issuing of building permits.

Collaboration with developers was organized by instituting a hierarchy of fora: a Coordination Group with officials and developer senior managers, Project Groups and Working Groups. Developers were encouraged to set up a group of their own. There were collaboration agreements with the city, signed by each developer. Furthermore, the city saw to it that developers signed mobility agreements (including creation of car pools, bicycle spaces and other actions reducing private car use) to convince central government that traffic generation would be limited and also the need for road reinvestment.

The estimated total number of work hours used for each plan indicates that BoStad2021 plans consumed about 500 work hours less than other plans. Questionnaire responses from developers, who were asked to compare their resource use during the planning stage with similar suburban infill projects not part of BoStad2021, did however suggest that resource use was higher by about twenty per cent, although there were large differences between projects within the programme. The municipality assigned an extra MSEK 120 for coordination and communication.

Whereas the planning process has been accelerated by about twenty per cent within the BoStad2021 programme, the average duration of building permit processes has been much longer than intended.

It seems that the best explanation for the success of the programme, as measured by a more rapid production of plans, is the clearly expressed political goal in itself. An important consequence has been an emphasis on projectivization in the planning and development processes. There has been a tendency among developers to lower the number of actual dwellings to be built in a first stage, once the detail plan had gained legal force which reduced a fundamental uncertainty. Slightly less than 4,000 dwellings had been finished at the end of 2021, but it is obvious that more will be completed within a year or two.

From the outset, it was required that the quality of BoStad2021 projects should be at least as good as for other comparable infill projects in Göteborg, despite a more rapid planning process. We first assessed the urban qualities of the development plans, having derived six quality aspects from earlier urban research, municipal policy documents, developer marketing materials, appeal cases and a workshop. In 2021, we applied nine quality aspects, mostly taken from earlier walkability studies, to assessments based on our site visits to fifteen BoStad2021 projects and ten comparable projects. The general quality level was found to be similar for both groups of projects. We have pointed out, however, that several projects in both groups suffer from traffic, as well as lack of well-designed green spaces and play areas. Policy ambitions to create multi-use city areas have proved difficult to fulfil through suburban small infill projects.

Our continuous evaluation began in 2015 and has followed the programme throughout the years, producing annual reports and theme reports. Empirical data were collected through document studies, project site visits, participation in meetings, workshops, seminars, interviews and questionnaire surveys.

Insights from the evaluation have led to the following four major recommendations.

The current fragmented development process should be replaced by a process management model with digital tools, allowing projects to be monitored and controlled throughout the entire process from start to completion.

Departments critical to the development process should be part of a unitary municipal project organization, and a project manager operating across departments should be appointed for each development project.

If detailed development plans are to be processed rapidly, plans that are highly dependent on regional and central public authorities should be avoided. A coordinated view of infrastructural development, engaging both the municipality and central government, should be established in strategic documents.

Strategic expansion planning based on fundamental knowledge of what constitutes and preserves mixed-use urban areas is needed. Small projects on unsuitable sites lack the potential for multifunctionality. Larger and more coherent areas of expansion with shopping strips and other types of services should be prioritized. This also requires that development agreements between the municipality and developers, including time schedules, are reached.


Anders Svensson

Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Byggnadsdesign

Joanna Gregorowicz-Kipszak

Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Stadsbyggnad

Anders Hagson

Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Stadsbyggnad

Jan Bröchner

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Service Management and Logistics

Mathias Petter Gustafsson

Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Construction Management


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