Two Design-Developer Competitions - Searching for affordable housing in Gothenburg and Stockholm
Övrigt konferensbidrag, 2019

The paper describes and discusses two developer competitions in Sweden which concentrated on design of affordable housing. Both competitions were given sites in a built environment with well operating infrastructure in Gothenburg and Stockholm respectively. But did the competitions benefit from their physical preconditions, and were the competitions carried out as a professional laboratory, supporting innovative solutions and affordable housing?

The developer competition is a new tool in Sweden; it evolved after deregulation of the building sector in the 1980s. In 2013, 19 of the 35 largest municipalities in Sweden had accepted policies for land allocation (Persson, 2013). A closer study of the local land allocation guidelines reveals that the competition form is undeveloped. There are no national rules for developer competitions.

The overall aim of this paper is to present research findings on the production of architecture values, design qualities, and innovations by developer competitions. Three questions will be explored: what kind of values and qualities are identified and developed by the key actors in the winning proposals? How have the sites and surrounding infrastructure been used in the competitions? In what manner did the competitions contribute to cheap apartments?

The methods used for data collection and analysis are as follows: the organizers’ archives in Gothenburg and Stockholm were examined; the fundamental documents were analyzed through close reading; questionnaires were used to collect individual statements from key actors; and a model was constructed to find answers to the research questions. The model has crossing axes. One that represents physical dimensions and one that shows design dimensions in competitions.

The results is summerized in five conclusions. The first conclusion is that the teambuilding in the developer competitions in Gothenburg and Stockholm revolve around a core of people, with appropriate competence, who have known each other for a long time. The second conclusion is that there is a variation of motives for participating in the two developer competitions. The third conclusion is that the sites performs as attractors for the key actors in the competitions. The fourth conclusion is that juries connect architecture values and design qualities to the projects in the competitions, not to the physical dimensions. The fifth conclusion is that the competition can be an effective tool for generating innovative design proposals that combine good housing and low rent.

architectural values and design qualities

Developer competition

affordable housing


Magnus Rönn

Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Byggnadsdesign

the 9th International conference of the Italian Association of Urban History AISU in Bologna, 11-14 September 2019.
Bologna, ,


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Building Futures (2010-2018)

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