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Nordregio researcher awarded runner up of the Stockholmia Prize

Mitchell Reardon, Research Assistant at Nordregio, was awarded runner up of the 2011 Stockholmia Prize by Samfundet St Erik, a community organization in Stockholm, and Stockholmsforskningen. The prize was awarded for the best Master's thesis focused on Stockholm in 2010.

An Opportunity for Renewal: The Participatory Process and Social and Income Diversity in Brownfield Developments


Participatory planning and the redevelopment of brownfield locations have both figured prominently in urban and regional planning strategies in recent decades. Despite their growing importance, these trends have rarely been analyzed in concert however. Further, the issues of social and income diversity within this context have received less attention. In recognizing this void, this paper explores the use of participatory planning in brownfield developments, with an emphasis on social and income diversity. Through a review of the participatory planning theories of communicative action and the just city, strategies for promoting participatory planning and social and income diversity, are identified.

A case study of Norra Djurgårdsstaden, a brownfield development in Stockholm, Sweden is employed to analyze these strategies. In undertaking the case study, data was collected through interviews and planning documents. This study found that the inherently high cost of redeveloping brownfield locations inhibits social and income diversity and requires an overt response to mitigate it. Participatory planning offers the possibility of engaging stakeholders who may otherwise be ignored, providing the opportunity to create a more inclusive development. It is also clear that an inclusionary goal must be part of a wider strategy, or is otherwise likely to be ignored.

Read the thesis: An Opportunity for Renewals: The Participatory Process and Social and Income Diversity in Brownfield Development.

See the Swedish press release

Mitchell Reardon

Research Fellow