Gothenburg – a City in Transformation
Since 2010, the Gothenburg platform has developed from its start-up stage to an established and active arena for knowledge of urban transitions. Several large knowledge projects have been running since 2015, with a number of players from academia, public administration, business and civil society. These will be finalised in 2015 and evaluated in early 2016. The new programme for the 2016-19 period will be informed by the results and experiences, and based on a dialogue with partners in Sweden and internationally. The Urban Lunch-time has become a well-established concept, and Urban Research seminars have been introduced. Co-operation with the consortium and associated partners is well-rooted and developing continuously.
Trade, Industry and Services
The challenges faced by West Sweden, and particularly Gothenburg, primarily include the future impact of climate change, increasing social polarisation, and the shift from an industrial-based to a knowledge-driven service economy. Manufacturing still plays an important role, as does trade and logistics. The City of Gothenburg also faces the challenge of planning and building new housing and office space on a large scale, especially in its central areas, and at the same time promoting a city which is sustainable and accessible to all.
Gothenburg is Sweden’s second largest city with 543,000 inhabitants within the City boundaries, and nearly a million in the urban region (13 municipalities with 971,000 inhabitants). The first city plan was drawn up in 1620, and the City was built with Dutch expertise in the marshlands by the river. As it was built to as a port and the gateway for Sweden to the West, from the outset the external influence was great in Gothenburg; the first City Council consisted of four Swedes, three Germans, three Dutch and two Scots.
Gothenburg’s local labour market is expected to grow to 1.5 million people by 2020. By then the objective is that half of all travel should be by public transport. In recent years, the debate regarding urban construction has largely been about the partially state-funded infrastructure investment “Västsvenska paketet” (The West Sweden Package) and the congestion charges which were introduced on 1 January 2013 and form part of the financing. Of major concern is also the development of the old port and shipyard areas in central Gothenburg, called the RiverCity. In October 2012 the City Council adopted a vision for the River City which covers almost five square kilometres of land.
An Open Space for Knowledge
The Gothenburg platform offers an arena for all the local partners to meet outside the established structures, where they can take a critical view of the processes and challenges of this city region - often in collaboration with other cities in Sweden. The ways of working characterises the Centre — collaborative and trans-disciplinary knowledge production. It is an approach with wide-ranging and open processes that take account of different organisational cultures and time perspectives. This has proven to be the most effective basis for providing relevant knowledge that can be implemented. We call this co-creation - jointly identifying challenges, posing the right questions, producing the knowledge, both research and experience based, and implementing it.
The project development process depends on the sources of financing. The core projects are co-financed by own resources (cash and in kind from the partners). Other projects funded by the partners can be part of the platform, if they fulfill our criteria and the partners chose to. We also provide seed money for pre-studies and application for external funding, e.g. from national agencies and research council. These may result in associated projects, if the applications are successful.
Hence the initiatives can come from the partners or from other stakeholders. Calls by research funders, EU funds, etc. are often the basis for seed financing. Collaborative projects can also be started in individual university departments. All stakeholders are encouraged to approach the platform and its partners with ideas and initiatives. The most important criterion, apart from answering to the objectives of the centre, is that any project proposal must be backed by at least two partners.
Project development – From ideas to implemented projects
If you are interested in how projects are developed at the Gothenburg platform we have put together information about the process, there you can find the main features of project development at the Gothenburg platform. Read more