There Goes the Neighborhood
Abstract: This essay inquires into the possible relationship between market oriented reforms in Swedish housing and education policy and Malmö’s sociospatial development by posing the question has Malmö become a neoliberal city? If so, how? Asserting David Harvey and Jamie Peck’s theories, and the concepts neoliberalism, neoliberalization, and risk downloading, the text argues that the central state has, since the 1970s, gradually shifted costs and risks and surrendered steering tools to institutions at subordinate scales by means of decentralization, deregulation and commodification in a rollback/rollout dynamism. Meanwhile, Malmö materialized as an expanding industrial city during the 1960s and early 70s. However, recurring recessions, suburbanization and immigration in the 1970s and 80s, adressed with ineffective policy measurements, amounted to an urban crises in the 1990s. This spurred a reorientation in the city’s political economy, from an industrial city to a ’knowledge city’. In this process, Malmö – rather than addressing polarization and ameliorate conditions for its current population – started catering to ’an educated other’ by engaging in public-private partnerships and boosterism. The essay finds that oscillations in Swedish housing and education policy has indeed influenced urban development and that Malmö has, arguably, become a neoliberal city.
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