In the search for vulnerability
This densest part of Malmö is to be found right in the vivid centre of
the city. With 40% of the population immigrants or Swedish-born
children of immigrants, the selection of 10 000 inhabitants is a good
example of the mixture of ethnicities, cultures and nationalities of
Physically, the 53 hectares of Möllevången consist roughly of three
different types of structures: the living quarters built mainly before
1940, the superblocks from 1960-1980 occupying three whole
quarters and the “open spaces” - Folkets Park, Möllevångstorget and
other smaller openings.
The site was originally farmland. Möllevångens gård, situated by
Folkets Park, was built in 1796. The building of housing for workers
in this area began in 1870, and the garden of the farm was made the
first Folkets Park of Sweden in the 1890’s.
Today, the area is by some described as the vibrant and hip part of
Malmö, known for its sub-cultural feel and politically active
youth. Restaurants, pubs and immigrant-driven small stores are
visible in the streetscape. Others see problems in the area too -
narcotics, unlicenced business and a questionable level of safety. All
these are signs of strongly ongoing life in the area.
For some years now neglected by the investors and the city of
Malmö, Möllevången has developed by itself to being the coolest
new hot spot of the city. And all of the sudden, things take a turn
rapidly: new housing projects are already at hand, restaurants with
price level above the average have found commercial ground in the
quarters, and left-wing-intellectual-students with an expensive
wardrobe are moving in.
In the search for vulnerability, the exposure lies in the slow,
controversial transformation of the area from cheap working
class quarters to renovated, more expensive and generic cityscape.
The evaluation of this process, gentrification, is difficult - not all
development is negative.
The question at hand is: how to protect Möllevången from loosing its identity and the living ground for its current inhabitants?
Are there guidelines to be found for the development where it is inevitable?
charising the sub-cultural Möllevången,
In this project, I set out for
searching for a strategy
to strengthen and expand the qualities making it unique.
Discovering the streetscape and hidden qualities of Möllevången
The street structure inside of Möllenvången is relatively tight.
Roughly put three types of street scapes are to be found: streets along
commercial activities, streets along residential quarters with no
commercial activities but car parking in stead, streets along the parks
and openings. The buildings embracing these streets are generally
4-storey high, but variation appears. Inspite of the commercial
strokes, majority of the streets are plain and hard urban surfaces with
little friction and easy to navigate.
The hidden treasures of Möllevången lie in the dense, varied
and surprising backyards of the closed quarters. These spaces
are not visible for the random person walking by, but their
existence is well known amongst those inhabiting the area.
These spaces are heavy with possibilities for becoming the starting
point of a rich urban resistance project. Their hidden character is in essence
in line with the need for an underground activation of Möllevången.
Imagine a new structure emerging inside the city,a well kept secret of Möllevången.
Common, public, for voluntary organizations, random meetings, small businesses, collectives,
underground movements, neighbourhoods collaborations. For everyone in Möllevången.
Not that it is inaccessible, quite the contrary, but this you will not find in
the tourist map of Malmö. You might just stumble across it, out of curiosity, when peeping
in one of the backyard gateways.
A rhizome of activities, services, meetings and everyday life grows undercover
A new common realm is launched when the public sector steps in and purchases
apartments and spaces in the quarters that otherwise would go to property developers
and the free marked.
Social, small scale commercial, cultural and integrative activities by the city of Malmö, private persons and
non-profit organizations are started up inside the residential areas, and a new access is created to
these spaces from the backyards.
The backyards are opened towards the streets in subtle ways and turned mostly into public spaces.
Inside, you can come across a spice marked, children’s playground, stage for an amateur theater, allotment gardens,
a dance floor or shelters for wind. The sought-after ideal of intens medieval streetlife and mixture of programs and ownerships
is not to be found in the streets of Möllevången, but in the backyards, connecting to a whole network
of programs taking you up to the apartment floors and rooftops or down to the basements.