The population is growing and concentrated in metropolitan areas

There are indications that the majority of new jobs will be in the services sector, which is predominately based in Sweden’s larger cities. The concentration of these jobs in urban centers contributes to a large population increase in those areas. More people will also have longer commuting distances to work and school. In order to ensure competitiveness, geographic mobility, and quality of life, Sweden needs a functioning housing market and the right investments in infrastructure and public services. This requires financing and access to the right resources. Investment in these areas affects everything from the environment and innovation potential of a city to the health, equality, safety, and employment of its residents. It is therefore important to be concrete and weigh different priorities as cities expand.

Technical development places new demands on city planning

Rapid technological developments coupled with increased internationalisation lead to tougher foreign competition for Swedish companies. Trade is becoming digitalized, and a larger share of our consumption is being done online. Ambitious environmental regulations create a demand for new technical solutions in the area of transport, such as electric vehicles.

Cooperation between the city, municipality, and region

Different public sector actors may have contradictory goals, and decision-makers at any given level in the public sector do not necessarily have the means required to meet their own goals. These problems raise questions of coordination. Does Sweden, for example, need a stronger national urban plan, or more oversight of its transport system?

Financing and investment in human and real capital

Another important issue is how to finance housing construction and infrastructure projects. Financing opportunities can differ depending on whether state, regional, or local actors are steering the project. Another issue is the extent to which the business community and pension funds should contribute to financing housing and infrastructure. For firms in several industries, including construction and transport, it is difficult to recruit skilled workers. There are also signs that businesses are taking greater responsibility for vocational training and certification in order to fill their vacancies.


SNS Research Brief 70. Air quality and children’s health
SNS Research Brief 67. Economic impact of investments in digital infrastructure
The Swedish electricity market: power to the people
Climate policy and the transport sector
Public Housing and Equality
Cost Overrun and Procurement Competence in Sweden
SNS Research Brief 63. Discount rates and public infrastructure investments
A rental market in crisis
SNS Research Brief 58. Cities and Big Data
Does investment in transport infrastructure boost economic growth?

On-going studies

Costs and competition in the Swedish construction sector

Housing prices in Sweden have risen in recent decades. Compared to other Nordic countries the increase has been particularly sharp in Sweden. This report discusses several explanations for the observed development. How have housing prices been affected by land prices and material costs? And what about competition in the construction sector?

Authors: Mats Bergman, professor of economics at Södertörn University, and Sten Nyberg professor of economics at Stockholm University. To be published: fall 2021.

Time frame

The project started in 2019 and continues for 3 years.


Project manager: Daniel Strandberg,, +46 (0) 790-98 10 98.