An examination of housing segregation in Malmö, Sweden: the roles and responsibilities of different actors in finding solutions.

University essay from Lunds universitet/Institutionen för kulturgeografi och ekonomisk geografi; Lunds universitet/Humanekologi

Abstract: Spatial segregation and unequal access to housing has been recognized as a problem in Sweden for the past several decades. The increasing influence of neoliberal policies on the Swedish housing market has made segregation and social disparities a challenging obstacle in the development of Malmö. This has characterized a shift in the traditional system of the Swedish welfare state. Through a qualitative examination of the realities of segregation in Malmö, a case study was conducted to highlight the roles and division of responsibility various actors have in finding solutions to segregation. Respondents were selected based on their position in the government, participation within the civil society, and their position as a resident of Malmö, and were asked to discuss the various roles each of these three categories of actors plays in solving segregation as well as the perceived level of responsibility each one holds. All of the respondents recognized the severity of segregation, and the consequences it has on the capabilities of those who are marginalized from the housing market. It was observed that the role different actors play in finding solutions depends on the responsibility each one has. The government holds a legal responsibility due to the structure of the welfare-state in Sweden, while the civil society takes a voluntary role based on social responsibility. The role of the individual becomes compromised due to the market-driven tendencies of the Swedish housing market, and the support they can receive from the government or the civil society depends on the form of marginalization they experience. Through these observations, it can be concluded that the role the government plays is fueled by financial capital and the civil society plays a role that is supported by social capital. Overall, increased cooperation and dialogue is needed amongst the actors so that more concrete and sustainable initiatives are made toward decreasing segregation in Malmö.

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