Formas funds for expanding access to public space

22 October 2020

Anette Göthlund, a professor at the Department of Visual Arts and Sloyd Education (IBIS), Miro Sazdic Löwstedt, a PhD student in Konstfack's KTD programme (Art, Technology and Design), and Meike Schalk, an associate professor of Urban Design at KTH (project manager) are together receiving SEK 4 million from the Formas call "Designed living environment – architecture, form, design, art and cultural heritage in public spaces".

The research project Varvet runt: från unga medborgares perspektiv, via formella och informella stadsstudier, till skapandet av strategier inom fler-aktörskonstellationer och tillbaka (Full Circle: From the Perspectives of Young Citizens, Via Formal and Informal Urban Studies, to the Creation of Strategies within Multi-Actor Constellations, and Back Again) (2020-2024) aims to increase diversity in the public space and to incorporate views and experiences necessary for the construction of an inclusive society. The project focuses on improving opportunities for an oft-forgotten group – young people aged 10-13 – to participate in and co-create public spaces. These young people often feel too grown-up for playgrounds, but also have limited access to recreation centres. The project is based on the idea that the built environment contains socio-economic inequalities that prevent access to public space on equal terms.
If one looks at who builds our public spaces and who is trained in spatial practices (architecture, planning, arts, crafts, design), the lack of diversity among those student groups is self-evident. As a result, we lack the varying views and experiences necessary for the construction of an inclusive society. This project aims to change this, for example by problematising the issue of broadened recruitment.

The project, which also includes the graphic designer Jonas Williamsson, is being conducted in three different locations with three different objectives: to
1) explore access to various public spaces together with children and young people;

2) develop knowledge about children's and young people's use of public spaces, in order to improve the opportunities to include children's perspectives. The project intends to accomplish this primarily by creating and activating a mobile laboratory together with children, young people, students from KTH/Architecture and IBIS;

3) develop and provide resources for equality, diversity and inclusion to teachers, municipalities and professionals working in spatial practices.

Project initiation support for the mobile laboratory came from a Small Visionary Projects grant (SEK 300,000) awarded by the KTH Centre Navet in spring 2020, with Miro Sazdic Löwstedt as project manager.