AbstractsSocial Sciences

From Vacant to Vibrant (?); Från ledig till levande (?)

by Thomas Magnusson

Institution: KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Year: 2015
Keywords: tactical urbanism; temporary urbanism; TTUI; Nacka; Kvarnholmen; urban planning; urban development; pop-up urbanism; Social Sciences; Other Social Sciences; Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified; Samhällsvetenskap; Annan samhällsvetenskap; Övrig annan samhällsvetenskap; Degree of Master - Sustainable Urban Planning and Design; Teknologie masterexamen - Hållbar samhällsplanering och stadsutformning; Urban och regional planering; Urban and Regional Planning
Record ID: 1354536
Full text PDF: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-160889


A trend of temporary interventions is sweeping through Western cities in the 21st century. Being anything from art on street benches or small pop-up stores to street festivals, food trucks or urban farms, these expressions have recently been given more attention by the academic world and city authorities. Such expressions are often clustered under umbrella concepts such as tactical urbanism, temporary urbanism, DIY urbanism, guerilla urbanism and pop-up urbanism. In this thesis the expressions and the way in which they are organized are called Tactical and Temporary Urbanism Initiatives (TTUI). In the Swedish municipality Nacka east of Stockholm, a small peninsula called Kvarnholmen has hosted actors with short-term commitments during the summer of 2014; a project called Under Konstruktion. Situated at the site were an art & exhibition center, a ‘magical’ garden, a food caravan, a night club and a festival. In parallel, Kvarnholmen is developing into a city district as part of a municipal aim to build almost 15000 new apartments over the next 15 years. The initiators of Under Konstruktion, Nacka municipality and the developer KUAB, have aimed to put Kvarnholmen “on the map” during the time of construction (among other intentions) and have brought in the above actors to realize this ambition. The thesis evaluates Under Konstruktion in order to answer the research question; what is the potential role and function of tactical and temporary urbanism initiatives within municipal planning and urban development processes in a Swedish context? Based on previous research and 11 interviews with project actors, it is discussed why TTUI should be implemented in municipal planning and what kind of knowledge and structures that are needed for an implementation to take place. Potential risks associated with TTUI implementation is also discussed. The evaluation shows that several ambitions have been achieved. The project was well-attended and a medial success but heavy workload and poor communication added stress and a negative touch. More involved actors and better anchoring within the municipal organization is suggested, and the cherry-picking of actors is questioned. Under Konstruktion has mainly been concerned with market strategic goals, which is not the main intention of TTUI and merely one piece of an urban development strategy. It is argued for that such a TTUI strategy in other locations in Nacka could possibly hasten gentrification processes. The thesis suggests broad TTUI implementation to recognize and adapt to global trends, basing the implementation on its advantages to rationalize land use, support creativity and diversify citizen participation processes. Such an approach have risks worth considering, for instance conflicts between actors, citizen ignorance or lack of bottom-up creativity. It would also be time-consuming, require resources and a questioning of municipal professions. Through the unique character of Under Konstruktion, Nacka has shown commitment to create vibrant districts, but not yet have…