Urban station communities

Both the railway and railway stations has historically had a significant impact on communications and prosperity, not just in Sweden but globally. The future role of station communities is crucial for urban and regional development. A development of these communities can enable a transport-efficient urban planning, a sustainable economic development and an attractive region. Densifying station neighborhoods is a common challenge for many actors and stakeholders.

“Urban Station Communities – the way to resource-efficient travel” is a knowledge process within the framework of Mistra Urban Futures. In “Urban Station Communities”, various projects and activities are initiated to increase knowledge about the complexity in planning station near locations and create conditions for development of station communities.

The idea for the Urban Station Communities project was born in December 2012 at a workshop focusing on sustainable densification. In 2013, a knowledge review was written (Urban Station Communities – Review of Research and Practice).



Alice Dahlstrand, project manager, presents Urban Station Communities at workshop in Hammarkullen, 4 February 2016 (4:20)

The knowledge process focuses on revitalizing and supporting municipalities regular planning processes to stimulate the building of an efficient transport region with attractive and dense station communities. Urban stations communities can:

  • Provide support in the municipal own planning process
  • Offer arguments, images and other suggestions to be able to promote the development of urban station communities
  • Be a catalyst and spread knowledge
  • Be a forum for dialogue


The following organisations are at this point involved : the Gothenburg Region Association of Local Authorities, Swedish Transport Administration, Region Västra Götaland, The County Administrative Board of Västra Götaland and eleven municipalities. The  municipalities participating contributes each with a test case in the form of a station community. The participating municipalities are:

  • Ale (Nödinge)
  • Alingsås
  • Borås
  • Göteborg (Brunnsbo)
  • Härryda (Landvetter södra)
  • Kungälv (Ytterby)
  • Lerum
  • Partille
  • Stenungsund
  • Trollhättan (Upphärad)
  • Varberg

The  participants have via workshops identified seven focus areas that they see as the main challenges  to develop station communities. These focus areas are:

  • Noise, vibration and risk
  • Dialogue and collaboration
  • Flexible and sustainable transport
  • Structure and design of a sustainable society
  • Lifestyle values, identity and place marketing
  • Land use and land values ​​
  • The station's role for the surrounding area

Activities and subprojects are initiated based on these focus areas. Details of subprojectsand activities are given below.




Sustainable and attractive station communities

Project participants and funders: VINNOVA (Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems), Chalmers, RISE, IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, the Gothenburg Region Association of Local Authorities (GR), Region Västra Götaland (VGR), the municipality of Ale, Alebyggen AB, Balder, the municipality of Lerum, Västtrafik,  ICA, Handelsbanken, Svensk Fastighetsförmedling, Derome, Wallenstam, Skanska, HSB, Förbo, Jutabo, Handelsbanken, Bzzt, CleverApps.

The goal of the project is “attractive station communities characterised by efficient land use that supports both sustainable travel and sustainable, local, economic and social development”.

The project is working primarily with innovations in the following categories:

  • Innovations for a more efficient use of valuable land near stations.
  • Innovations that create possibilities and incentives for choosing sustainable travel to and from stations.
  • Innovations that support post-industrial society, local trade and industry and social cohesion.

For further details, please contact Åsa Hult, IVL


Safety and pleasant sound environment in urban station communities

Financed by The Swedish Transport Administration and the SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden (SP) financed a pree study in 2014. White Arkitekter was engaged to be partly responsible for project management. This project focuses on ways of counteracting the problems of risks and noise/vibration. These currently present obstacles to densification (dwellings and enterprises close to stations). This is partly because of an unclear allocation of responsibilities and contradictory guidelines. It is also partly due to deficiencies in today’s solutions in respect of functionality and aesthetics requirements in urban locations.

The project’s goals:

  • Make an inventory of and show good examples of existing solutions.
  • Develop innovative, multifunctional solutions that are potentially attractive.
  • Demonstrate new solutions in a few municipalities.

For further details, please contact Krister Larsson, krister.larsson@sp.se.


From knowledge creep to transdisciplinary knowledge agents

Financed by Mistra Urban Futures, Region Halland, Region Skåne and Skåne county administrative board.

Project participants Region Halland, Region Skåne, Skåne county administrative board, Radar arkitektur & planering AB, Halmstad University, Malmö University and the municipalities of Laholm, Båstad, Trollhättan and Stenungsund.

In a pilot study, the project seek to achieve a better understanding of how relationships between the various bodies that affect the possibilities for municipalities to develop station communities. Via focus groups in the municipalities of Laholm, Båstad, Stenungsund and Trollhättan, the subproject has collected empiric data on structures and relationships between the bodies involved in developing station communities. The focus groups comprised: civil servants; politicians; and, bodies that the municipalities work with in the field of station development. In spring 2015, the subproject will deliver a first report.

For further details, please contact Joakim Forsemalm, joakim@radar-arkplan.se.


The role of stations in developing small communities and the areas around them

Financed by The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth; the Region Västra Götaland; Region Halland; and, a number of municipalities.

Project participants The Unit for human geography at University of Gothenburg, the Region Västra Götaland and a number of municipalities.

Via the collecting of data, a mapping out of the situation and an analysis, the project focuses on the role of stations serving small communities. What is required for such stations to have a positive effect on development? How big is a station’s catchment area? Besides travel, what effects do such stations have on the surrounding countryside?

The above are just some of the questions that the project is addressing. This subproject is intended to serve as a source of data/findings for use in, for example: future regional visions; and, the consideration of different priorities within public transport.

For further details, please contact Björn Johansson bjorn.k.johansson@regionhalland.se


Activities and seminars

Workshop day

Participating organisations have the opportunity to attend a workshop on 12 May 2015. It deals with two issues that concern most of the parties. There will be two parts to the workshop. These are “commuter parking” (morning session) and “a comfortable sound environment” (afternoon session). The intention is to work actively (via laboratory-inspired methodology) on cases from municipalities.


Inspiration and information meeting

Project participants were invited to a 12 December 2014 meeting where they could, amongst other things, draw inspiration from how the municipality of Varberg handled resident dialogues and complex collaborative projects. Participants were also treated to the Swedish Transport Administration’s Susanne Ingo giving details of: future scenarios, needs and solutions for travel and transport in city station communities; and, work in the “The attractive region” project.


Seminar: Urban station communities – how are we to plan for travelling in the near future?

On 15 May 2014, civil servants (from municipalities and state and regional organisations), consultants and politicians came together at the “Urban station communities – how are we to plan for travelling in the near future?” seminar. This was arranged in collaboration with K2, a national centre for public transport research. Read more about the seminar and see the presentation material here (Swedish only).


Seminar: “A pleasant sound environment from source to receiver”

A seminar that aimed to focus on issues pertaining to comfortable sound environments without too much disturbance from noise and vibration was held on 21 January 2014. Throughout the day, researchers and experts presented various aspects of the subject (e.g. acoustic design, health effects and “noise costs”). The seminar was jointly organised by the Swedish Transport Administration, the SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden (SP) and Västra Götaland county administrative board. SP’s website has film sequences from the seminar (Swedish only). Go to http://www.splogin.se and log in using the details below.

User name: sp\Bullerseminarium

Password: SP2014-01-21


Urban research

With the theme “urban station communities”, the Urban Research seminar was held on 6 December 2013. The invited speaker was Anne Leemans of the Yellow design Foundation. A project status report was given at the seminar. Read more.



This event was held on 13 September 2013. Its participants included representatives from nine municipalities. Each municipality chose one of its station communities to be a case study in the planned project. These station communities are either in the course of being developed or are earmarked for development planning. In autumn 2013, there were meetings and an image workshop with the participating municipalities.


Knowledge seminar

On 6 March 2013, a knowledge seminar brought together municipalities, regional bodies, regulatory authorities, academic institutions and trade and industry entities to discuss urban station communities. This knowledge seminar confirmed that the future role of station communities is critical for the development of the towns and regions in question. Read more (Swedish only).

Would you like to be involved? Would you or your organisation like to be part of the project and its development? If you would, please contact the relevant project/subproject managers.

Illustration: Emelie Göransson


  • The status of walking in policy and planning: Views from different professions
    Höjemo, T. & Fedrizzi, B. The status of walking in policy and planning. Views from different professions. Mistra Urban Futures Working Paper 2017:3
    Location:Gothenburg Type:Report/Paper/Working paper/Brief
  • Co-creation in urban station communities
    Ranhagen, U., Dahlstrand, A. & Ramstedt, A. Co-Creation in Urban Station Communities. Mistra Urban Futures report 2017:2
    Location:Gothenburg Type:Report/Paper/Working paper/Brief
  • Samskapande i det urbana stationssamhället
    Ranhagen, U., Ramstedt, A., Dahlstrand, A. Samskapande i det urbana stationssamhället. Mistra Urban Futures rapport 2017:1
    Location:Göteborg Type:Report/Paper/Working paper/Brief
  • Att lära sig utveckla regionen genom kommunen: Urbana stationssamhällen som verktyg för ett hållbart transportsystem
    Forsemalm, J., Johansson, M. & Svetoft, I. (2015). Att lära sig utveckla regionen genom kommunen: Urbana stationssamhällen som verktyg för ett hållbart transportsystem. (Mistra Urban Futures Report 2015:18).
    Location:Göteborg Type:Report/Paper/Working paper/Brief
  • Low carbon stations for low carbon cities
    Leemans, A., Cruz, J., Frommer, G. & Ivkovic, M. (2015). Low carbon stations for low carbon cities (Mistra Urban Futures and ydesignfoundation, 2015).
    Location:Gothenburg Type:Report/Paper/Working paper/Brief
  • Low Carbon Stations for Low Carbon Cities Quick-Scan Desk Research on Trends, Challenges and Opportunities in Adapting Urban Interchanges for Low Carbon Future
    Leemans, A. & Ivkovic, M. Brussels: Yellow design Foundation, 2013
    Location:Gothenburg Type:Report/Paper/Working paper/Brief
  • Det urbana stationssamhället: Forsknings- och praktikeröversikt
    Dahlstrand, A., Forsemalm, J. & Palmås, K. Mistra Urban Futures Report 2013:3. Gothenburg: Mistra Urban Futures, 2013
  • Station Community Transitions: A Matter of Push or Pull?
    Forsemalm, J., Palmås, K. & Hadasch, I. Mistra Urban Futures Paper 2013:1. Gothenburg: Mistra Urban Futures, 2013
    Location:Gothenburg Type:Report/Paper/Working paper/Brief


  • Process tools in creative processes
  • Stationens roll för små orter och dess omland
  • Stationers roll för utveckling av mindre orter
  • Stationers roll för utveckling av mindre orter och dess omland - kunskapssammanställning och forskningsbehov
  • Årsrapport 2014, Det Urbana Stationssamhället - vägen mot ett resurssnålt resande

Project members

  • Anna Gustafsson

    Anna Gustafsson works as a regional planner at the Gothenburg Region Association of Local Authorities.

    Contact me
  • Ulf Ranhagen

    Dr Ulf Ranhagen, Professor emeritus from KTH in Stockholm, Adjunct  Professor at Lulea University and Honoray Professor at Tongji University in Shanghai and Senior Chief Architect at SWECO in Stockholm. He was member of the Swedish Delegation of Sustainable Cities 2008-2012 and Mistra Urban Futures Board 2011-2013. At present he is chairman of ARKUS and board member of  E2B2 and Richerts. During 2015 he will serve as senior advisor for the urban station community project.

    Contact me