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Good Practice Database

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Public realm


Detailed description of the Good Practice

The intermingling of citizens from different walks of life while going about their daily lives is of great importance to a community striving to promote tolerance of people and lifestyles unlike one’s own. The “public realm” is made up of areas where people can meet, including meeting people who are different from ourselves. The Malmö City Planning Office, in cooperation with other departments, has carried out a project called “the Malmö Public Realm,” aimed at improving planning methods and advancing knowledge about the importance of intermingling in the urban environment.
The comprehensive goal of Malmö city planning is to maintain and further develop
Malmö as an attractive and sustainable city now and in the long term. This development should be sustainable in economic, social, and ecological terms.
The Malmö Public Realm project endeavors to further the objective of welfare for everyone in a number om ways. Stronger social sustainability and lower levels of insecurity are to be achieved by increasing the public realm and public spaces where people with different backgrounds and lifestyles can meet one another and share a common experience. Pleasant and stimulating public spaces also make the city a more attractive environment for residents, students, employees, businesses, and visitors. This in turn contributes to sustainable economic development for Malmö and the surrounding region. Places where many people cross paths as they move about the city easily become creative environments.

urban planning
quality of life
good governance
citizens democracy
stakeholders involvement

Objectives of the Good Practice

to improve planning methods and advancing knowledge about the importance of intermingling in the urban environment.

Participants of the Good Practice

local authorities

Target group of the Good Practice


Funding of the Good Practice

Local authorities

More Details of the Good Practice

Public realm is defined as a variety of places and spaces in the city where different people have the chance to meet one another and be brought closer to each other in their daily lives in a positive sense: malls, squares or other spaces that belong to the residents of Malmö and where there are things to do for different people. Places like these where many different people of community and participation in the city. This type of encounter is an experience created from being close to “the other,” people who are different from ourselves.
Chance encounters are an opportunity to observe and get to know the different faces of the community. Chance encounters like these don’t have to be friction-free, but people shouldn’t feel insecure. A certain amount of friction in day-to-day encounters between people of different ages, styles, or ethnic backgrounds could well be experienced as positive, valuable, and necessary, as long as one feels secure. To safeguard their sense of security, however, many people avoid those whom they feel are different from themselves. This often leads to an inadequate understanding of other people, creating a sense of insecurity in the urban environment.
To help create a basis for everyday encounters between people in all walks of life, the City Planning Office, in cooperation with a broad project group, has studied how people with different lifestyles and different backgrounds move around in and use the city today. These studies have been complemented by in-depth interviews with first generation Malmö residents and a discussion with high school students. As part of the Malmö Public Realm project, various places have been studied to see how they currently function as arenas for the intermingling of residents. These studies, discussions, and interviews have been presented in the publication The Malmö Public Realm.

Documentation and documents


Available files

Contact details


Data sources and references

Sustainability by Sweden
Perspectives on urban governance