Co-creation in urban station communities

Ranhagen, U., Dahlstrand, A. & Ramstedt, A. Co-Creation in Urban Station Communities. Mistra Urban Futures report 2017:2

Publication type
Report/Paper/Working paper/Brief
Urban station communities
Ulf Ranhagen Alice Dahlstrand Amie Ramstedt
Published year



Focusing on findings from the four transdisciplinary participation activities (theme days and half-days) held in 2015 and 2016, the purpose of this report is to give an overview of co-creative activities in the Urban Station Communities knowledge process. The report is targeted at: the public sector’s regional and local agents; and, the researchers and experts actively involved in the knowledge process. We hope that the report will also be relevant for other agents who, in civil society and the business world, are involved in creating tomorrow’s urban station communities. The theoretical frame for our work includes: planning theory (especially discussion of communicative action and communicative rationality); action research; design theory and design-driven dialogues; and, tools for co-creation and future-oriented planning that is supported by participative backcasting and scenario methodology. This frame was significant in structuring and enabling consideration and evaluation of the activities that were carried out. The above-mentioned activities can be grouped into three main themes: noise, vibration and risk; flexible, sustainable transport; and, design of sustainable communities. They were evaluated via questionnaires to participants after each activity and via a separate interview study. The conclusions are that there is a positive basic attitude towards participating in the processes and that the tools used have been particularly appropriate for handling complex, strategic, planning issues. Overall, it can be noted that our frames of reference have been widened through the theoretical contributions and the transdisciplinary collaborations. The mix of representatives from various organisations and professions is regarded as rewarding. Furthermore, the social capital resulting from networks being built between people from different organisations also provides a long-term basis for exchanges of findings in future processes. In one case, a more thorough analysis and evaluation of station options has facilitated subsequent municipal decision-making processes and a final choice of how detailed planning is to be carried out. Critical factors affecting the success of the overall knowledge process include the limited time for the activities and their informal nature. The latter means that there is no guarantee of results being carried forward into standard practice. However, in the long term, it may be presumed that structural change in ongoing practices is possible. This is a subject for further research. The report gives some glimpses into the co-creation methodology that we see as central in developing accessible, green and just urban station communities. In many ways, co-creation revolves around creative and trusting collaborations between very many different agents. Said collaborations are not only for discussing and analysing the terms and conditions for and of station communities, but also for presenting and evaluating alternative proposals and strategies for the future. Viewed in a wider context, our report is about a small-scale application of a methodology that offers great future potential in exploiting development potential not only in the Gothenburg region, but also in all Mistra Urban Futures’ platforms elsewhere – local, regional, national and international. The co-creation methodology for urban station communities (and other applications) needs to be further developed as regards, for example: • Stronger theoretical linking to many different subject areas. • Stronger institutional capacity to enable coordination between education, professional development, experimental planning and day-to-day operations. • Monitoring of impact on standard practice in regional and municipal bodies as a basis for stronger network collaborations between these.

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