Urban planning

The pace of urbanization in Sweden continues to be high and we are about to face major demographic changes. Along with this, rapid technological development places additional demands on urban planning. In order to contribute with new insights, SNS has launched a research project on building societies through urban planning.

The population is growing and concentrated in metropolitan areas

There are indications that the majority of new jobs will be in the service sector, which is predominately located in Sweden’s larger cities. This contributes to a large population increase in urban 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. Here it becomes important to be concrete and weigh different priorities as cities expand.

Technical development places new demands on city planning

The rapid technological development coupled with increased internationalization leads to tougher competition for Swedish companies from around the world. Trade is undergoing digitalization and a larger share of our consumption is being done online. Ambitious environmental regulations place a demand on technical solutions when it comes to 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 always have the means required to meet their own goals. This can be problematic and raise questions of coordination. Does Sweden for example need a stronger national urban plan or more oversight of the transport system?

Financing and investment in human and real capital

An important issue is how housing construction and infrastructure projects should be financed. Financing opportunities can differ depending on whether state, regional, or local actors are implementing the project. Another issue is the extent that the business community and pension funds should contribute to financing. 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.

About the project

On-going studies

How does public infrastructure affect employment and economic growth? Maria Börjesson, professor in Transport Economics at the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI). Preliminary publication in April 2019.
Rent control in Sweden. Fredrik Kopsch, Senior Lecturer at the Real Estate Science Department at Lund University. Preliminary publication in May 2019.
How can we reduce emissions from the transportation sector? The government’s role and challenges. Maria Börjesson, professor in Transport Economics at the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI). Preliminary publication in November 2019.

Time frame

The project starts in 2018 and continues for 3 years.


Research director: David Sundström, david.sundstrom@sns.se, 0707-91 21 72.
Project manager: Gustav Peldán Carlsson, gustav.peldan@sns.se, 0722-51 57 98.