IKEA and small city development in Sweden: Planning myths, realities and unsustainable mobilities

Publisher's full text

This article analyses how urban authorities manage goals of sustainable development in decentralized planning contexts when faced with economic growth opportunities offered by a powerful development actor. This challenge is described and analysed in a comparative case study of how two Swedish cities handled the issue of new IKEA stores in decision-making and planning. The analysis centres on how power relations affected planning and decision-making, and is complemented by an evaluation of the choices and actions of the two municipalities in sustainable mobility terms, and an indication of the potential environmental consequences of the decisions.

The results show how the two municipalities locked their cities into car-dependent development paths by accepting IKEA's retail concept, due to perceived fierce competition for retail trade between neighbouring cities, and a belief that IKEA development would boost economic growth. The municipalities conducted considerable parts of the planning processes under secrecy, which constrained criticism of the IKEA developments, and left environmental and traffic impacts not fully assessed or debated. The cases show how, while attempting to put in place strategies for sustainable urban development, the municipalities handled difficult choices in ways which compromised their own and wider environmental goals for economic gains.

MEET US


6
Oct

Open seminar with Mistra SAMS international scientific advisory...

Mistra SAMS international scientific advisory panel (ISAP) is visiting Stockholm, and the program will host an open seminar where the panel members will give talks in their area of expertise.
19-20
Oct

ERPUG 2017

The five year anniversary of  European Road Profile Users' Group (ERPUG) Forum will take place at Ramboll head quarter, Copenhagen, Denmark October 19-20, 2017. 

LATEST NEWS


2017-07-05

Vehicle Driver Monitoring: sleepiness and cognitive load

To prevent road crashes it is important to understand driver related contributing factors, which have been suggested to be the critical reason in 94 per cent of crashes. The overall aim of the project Vehicle Driver Monitoring has been to advance the...


2017-06-29

Tomas Svensson new director-general

Tomas Svensson was today appointed Director-General of VTI. Tomas has been acting Director-General since January 2017. 


2017-05-30

Crash testing bicycles at VTI

For the first time single bicycle crashes have been simulated at the VTI crash safety laboratory.


2017-05-15

A case study exploring firefighters’ and municipal officials’ preparedness for electrical vehicles

A VTI-study presents a social perspective on new vehicle technology. It explores the self-reported preparedness of the fire departments (i.e., rescue services) in Sweden’s three largest cities regarding rescue operations involving electrical vehicles (EVs).


2017-05-02

Pioneering research on and about bicycles at VTI

Under what circumstances might cyclists lose tyre grip? What actions could then be taken to prevent a crash? VTI is currently developing a theoretical model of the behaviour of bicycle tyres during braking and steering in different situations and on different...


2017-05-02

Virtual pedestrians create efficient stations

If more people are to choose sustainable travel, then the public transport stations of the future must be designed so that pedestrians can get where they are going quickly, without congestion or queues. The Swedish Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI)...